Chettiar Clan’s Chettinad Temples of Tamil Nadu

The Chettiyar (earlier known as Nagarathars) community of Chettinad region constructed temples wherever possible. Like in other communities, this community too had clans. There are 9 clans in Chettinad community. Each clan was associated with one temple with its own water tank. That is how 9 Chettinad Temples are famous in Chettinad region. Each clan had their own rules and protocols to be maintained. The temple committee often played a big role in town planning, and a flourishing city soon developed around these temples.These are some of the pictures of the interiors of the Chettinad Temples. Not all of them allow photography; wherever they permitted I clicked to my heart’s content. The sculpted figures are so life like, almost telling a story.

Chettinad Temples

9 Chettinad Temples

Nine of these temples are the most famous ones. Illaiyathangudi, Mathoor, Vairavankoil, Nemamkoil, Illupaikudi, Surakuddi, Velangudi, Iraniyur and Pillaiyarpatti. Very complex names, but all are reachable and we toured them in a span of three days crisscrossing the entire Chettinad region. Do a slow travel around he area to fully experience the greatness of the heritage of the place.

Each temple is unique. Religious activities dominated the daily life of people in these regions for centuries. The traditions and rituals handed down generations after generations. And watching them perform these activities is interesting and valuable. The entire set of 9 Nagarathar temples of Chettinad is worth visiting.

In its heydays the entire region must have been grand! Now it seems so dreadfully silent. Most noteworthy in these temples are the paintings on the ceilings. The colors are charming as ever. Time is taking its toll on these monuments of heritage. This area is a must visit destination in Tamil Nadu. Tourism in Chettinad is yet to pick up. I wish the Tamil Nadu Tourism board would do something about this.


One unusual aspect that was shared with me was that:

People within the same temple of Chettinad region are considered as siblings. To get married the bride and groom should belong to different temples. Only exception is Mathur Temple. There are subdivisions within the temple. So marriage among brides and grooms of certain subdivisions are permitted.


Best Time to Visit Chettinad Temples

The ideal time to visit and tour temples of Chettinad is October to March. I visited in the month of May and it was so dreadfully hot. It is best to avoid summers here.

How to reach Chettinad Temples

Villages of Chettinad are now spread over 1000sqmiles.  There are 56 villages in Shivaganga district and 20 villages in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu. We drove down to Chettinad from Bangalore. The nearest airport is Madurai. And the nearest railway station is Karaikudi.

Skies Over Goa
Athangudi Tiles Manufacturers in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

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