The Chettinad is a small region in the districts of Sivagangai and Pudukkottai. Chettinad includes Karaikudi and 74 other villages. Chettinad is rich in rare cultural heritage, art and architecture. It is well known for its palatial houses – mansions, constructed with imported marbles, Belgium Glasses and Burma teak woods. The mansions of the Chettinad belong to the 19th Century and they have a wide courtyard. The spacious rooms have walls that are polished with egg whites to give a smooth and fine texture.
Chettinad has numerous Temples built by various Tamil Kings in various eras. Chola Kings built the main Temples. The People of Chettinad have strong spiritual belief and the numerous Temples stand testimony to it.
The Temples are evenly distributed throughout the Chettinad region and each Temple has a very big tank called the oorani, where water is stored and used for holy rituals. Even now the main happenings of the Chettinad are centered on the festivities around the temple. The Seven main Temples of Chettinad to which the Nagarthar belong to or the Sub sects of Nagarathar are Vairavan Kovil temple, Pillayarpatti kovil temple, Nemam kovil Temple, Ilayathakudi kovil Temple, Irani Kovil Temple Soorakudi kovil Temple and Iluppakkudi Kovil Temple. The otrher important Temples of Chettinad include, Kundrakudi Murugan temple, Kottaiyur Sivan temple, Kottaiyur Mariamman Temple, etc,.
Karaikudi is the biggest City in Sivaganga district. It got its name because of the famous plant called “Karai” which is widely spread over this area. Because of the predominance of the “Nattu Kottai Chettiars” – “Nagarathars” who have from here have ventured far and wide, to set up their business even at the turn of the 20th century. Karaikudi is also home of two famous Institutions, Alagappa University, and CECRI (Central Electro Chemical Research Institute – Govt of India)
Karaikudi is known as an ancestral home of Chettiyars. It is famous for its Chettinad Mansion, Temples, Old buildings, Gopura karai saris and Chettinad delicious tasty dishes. Nowadays it is a popular as a shooting spot for Tamil and Telugu film industries and as well as a tourist center. Tourists come in large numbers to have a view on history of Chettinad buildings.
Karaikudi is known for Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, also known as Sivan Temple which was built during 1872. There is a temple here where there are 108 statues of Ganapathy. In North-west of Karaikudi is MuttuPattinam which is known for MuthuMariamman Temple. At the Centrel is Kallukatti where the famous temple Koppudaiaamman is located.
The famous temple ‘Pillaiyar Patti’ is 12 km away from Karaikudi. This is one of those few temples in Tamil Nadu where Lord “Ganesa” is the main deity.