|Location||Sivaganga district in the state of Tamil Nadu|
|Also Known as||Ancestral home of the Chettiyars|
|Prime attractions||The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple|
|Temperature||Max 36°C to Min 18°C|
|Area||13 sq kms|
Karaikudi Travel Information
One of the biggest city in the district of Sivaganga, Karaikudi lies in the state of Tamil Nadu between two prominent place of Trichy and Rameshwaram. Karaikudi derieved its name from the plant Karai that is found abundant in the area. A great place of worship, it is famous for the temples dedicated to Ganesha or Pillaiyar, the elephant god. The most renowned is the Peliyarpatti temple attracting a large number of tourists.
Karaikudi is the biggest City in Sivaganga district. Known as the capital of Chettinad, Karaikudi is also referred to as the ancestral home of the Chettiyars, a community of great businessmen which has gained prominence in establishment of large scale business with Burma and Singapore in the pre Independence period. The houses of the Chettiyars,are huge and large accommodating good number of peoples for gathering and celebrations. The houses has a typically grilled courtyard at the center with rooms all round it.
Major Travel Attractions of Karaikudi
Chettinad Houses: Built on a rectangular plot stretching to two streets with the front door towards the street and the back to the second room. The rooms are formed in a straight line across the inner court yard each having an outlet to the back door. The platform leads to the store room and to the massive granaries. It even leads to the accountant’s room. The front door is carved with teak wood and opens in to the courtyard with pillared corridors. There is a third corridor dedicated to the ladies of the family for rest and meetings.
Kamban Mani Mandapam: It is the residence of the great Tamil poet and literature Kavi Chakravarthy Kamban. The poet has spent a valuable part of his life in this place and hence the Mandapam was built to respect his honour and fame with programs on Tamil Literature held every year in the place.
Pillaiyar Patti Lord Ganesha Temple: Kairaikudi is known all over the country for the rock cut temple of Lord Ganesha. The temple is placed at a distance of 12kms from the city center. Built in the 16th century by the Pandiya kings over the top of a hillock, it holds the image of Karpaga Vinayaka. Along with the image of the Karmapa there is also a Shiva Lingum carved out of a stone by a renowned sculptor by the name of Ekkattur Koon Peruparanaum whose signature is found every where on the sanctum.
Chettinad Museum: This magnificent museum was a large Chettinad house converted into a museum which in today’s terms display the traditional jewellery and the decorative clothes of the business class families. Along with them there are also exhibited huge copper water vats and grain bins and other daily used items that reflects the chettiyar families way of living.
Athangudi: The particular place in Karaikudi has gained prominence for the famous Athangudi tiles. The factories are open to the tourists to have an experience of the way in which these terracota tiles are hand made, patterned and dried for use in home decoration.
Meenakshi Temple: The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple is an attraction which the tourist never forget to visit on their tour to Karaikudi. Considered one of the most important places of Hindu Pilgrimage, the temple was built in the Dravidian style of architecture. The Gopurams or the gateways and the mandapams, the multi pillared halls are covered from top to the base with different images of the Hindu deities, animals and mythical figures. The temple is also known as Sivan Temple and its shrine was constructed in the year 1872. The most interesting fact about the temple is that it holds 108 statues of Ganapathy Vinayaka.
Nearby Travel Attractions of Karaikudi
Devakottai: Next To Karaikudi lies the second largest town of the area where the Devakottai Chicken is reared. The town is also admirable for its beauty. The streets are lined with old Chettinad mansions belonging to the trading community. The most fashionable is the Periya Minor’s Veedu that has furnishing of Spanish tiled roof, Italian floor tiles and carved teak pillars.
The place is famous for the tiles that are a pleasure to decorate the home interiors. The hand made tiles can be bought from the factory at lower rates than the market price.
Accommodation at Karaikudi
There are to be found well furnished and heritage styled hotels in Karaikudi .Some of the names that are to be mentioned for the sake of convenience of the tourists are The Bangala with double and attached baths, in house restaurant and the other one is heritage hotel by the name of Chettinad Mansion, a 100 year old architectural marvel having marriage halls, balconies and lofty rooms.
How to Reach
By Air: The nearest Airport is located at Madurai 90 kms from Karaikudi. Madurai is well connected to other places of national importance as well as international.
By Train: There is a railway station in Karaikudi which is well connected to major destinations in and around the country.
By Road: Karaikudi is connected by Road with all important towns. Regular bus services are available at frequent intervals from Trichy, Madurai, Palani, and other cities to Karaikudi.