This is a private full-day excursion to explore the history, culture, cuisine and crafts of the Chettinad district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The district gets its name from the Chettiars, a powerful and prosperous business community whose influence is clearly discernible in the region's culture, crafts and cuisine. The old wealth of the Chettiars can still be seen in the large number of elaborate 19th century mansions they built in a mix of Indian and European styles. Apart from being famous for its spicy and aromatic cuisine, Chettinad is also known for its crafts, such as the famous Athangudi handmade tiles and the Chettinad handloom sarees.Highlights • Tile and pottery making • Thirumayam fort • Chettinad style mansions • Antiques market
You will be picked up from your hotel in Madurai in the morning from where you will drive to Athangudi, a tiny village of 2000 inhabitants located in the Chettinad district. The village is renowned for its handmade floor tiles. Visit the traditional tile-making and pottery units. The brightly patterned Athangudi tiles were commissioned by the Chettiars for their mansions and are entirely handmade even today.From Athangudi you will drive to Thirumayam Fort. Built in the 17th century, the fort has been a site of several battles and intrigues. Next visit the small town of Kanadukathan, which is famous for its grand old-style mansions with elaborate woodwork, terracota and tile work.Visit the antiques market in Karaikudi and the local weaving looms which produce the famous Chettinad weaves.Apart from the places listed above, this tour also offers a great opportunity to see the living culture of Chettinad – you will see paddy farming, small villages, bazaars, shrines dedicated to folk Gods, and if the timing is right, you will also be able to see festivals and celebrations.At the end of the tour you will be driven back to Madurai and dropped-off at your hotel.