Usually overlooked for the beauty of the East coast or cooler climes of the Nilgiris, tucked away in southern Tamil Nadu, is the arid and dusty region of Chettinad. A cluster of 70-odd villages, including the capital town of Karaikudi, Chettinad is home to the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking and business community. The Chettiars were said to be gem merchants who became financiers in the time of the Chola kings made their fortunes in Burma, Malaysia and Singapore.

India’s most famous Chettiar, P. Chidambaram ex finance minister, seems to have continued that tradition—As the Chettiars’ wealth grew, so did their legacy.

Best time to visit: Autumn, Fall & Winter – September till March


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