Karaikudi is a small heritage town situated in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu. The town, which is believed to have been formed in the late 1800s, is home to the rich and affluent Nagarathar Chettiars (a business community of Tamil Nadu). Karaikudi is situated at around 428 kilometers from Bangalore. There are no direct trains from Bangalore. However, the easiest way to reach Karaikudi would be to take a bus or even drive down for about 10 hours. Considered as one of the seven wonders of India, Chettinad Palace is a must-visit attraction while in Karaikudi. Do visit the “Aayiram Jannal Veedu”.
The region is a heaven for lovers of antiques, architecture, vintage decor, handwoven sarees, and baskets. The main antique market situated right in the city of Karaikudi is filled with small knick-knacks, huge antique doors, pillars, and teak wood furniture. Kanadukathan (where they make Chettinad tiles) is dotted with small weaving centers, where one can buy gorgeous Kandanghi cotton sarees fresh off the loom. A visit to one of the many Athangudi tile factories will leave you itching to try a hand at the beautiful craft, where each tile is painstakingly made by hand.
Chettinad is also a foodie’s delight and is known for the fiercely spicy curries with both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. Chidambara Vilas, Naarayana Inn, and The Bangala have special unlimited thalis starting at INR 800 and upwards. The restaurants get fully booked during peak season (Do book in advance). Try the other regional staples such as Rattha Poriyal, Paniyarams, Kavini Arisi (black rice pudding), and more. There are many heritage and regular hotels around the town suitable for both budget and the luxury traveller. Book Chidambara Vilas or Saratha Vilas for luxury or Hotel Naarayana Inn for their basic budget rooms.