Chettiar Clan’s Chettinad Temples of Tamil Nadu
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.