Most of the mansions here in Karaikudi are occupied by the families. Unless you’re staying at one or visiting the Athangudi Palace, you won’t get to see the gorgeous architecture for yourself. The Athangudi Palace with its incredible dining hall of stained glass is something of a heritage wonder. There is an entry of INR 50 which is worth it. Especially if you love shooting pictures for the gram!
How to reach:
By train: Karaikudi is accessible by train from Madurai. Hop off at the Karaikudi Junction and then take an auto to your hotel or have them arrange for one!
By road: Overnight buses from Bangalore will get you to a tiny hamlet called Nemathanpatti. Request for a pick-up to be arranged by the hotel or if you’re lucky, a bored autorickshaw driver might approach you to drop you off at one of the mansions that’s just five minutes away.
Autorickshaw for sightseeing in Karaikudi: Mariappan 94427 22312 - he mostly speaks Tamil but great at also being tour guide by sharing interesting snippets about a place. Make sure you agree on the price for sightseeing before you begin on your journey
Things to keep in mind:
The town isn’t very developed. Therefore public transport is non-existent. The roads aren’t lit up by street lights either so if you’re travelling alone like I did, make sure you arrive during the day to avoid feeling lost in the middle of nowhere.
Currently the Tamil Nadu government accepts copies of two vaccine doses to allow you into the state. Do check for Covid protocols before you plan a trip and of course exercise precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining distance.
While I’ve been dreaming of visiting this lovely piece of Indian history for years, it appears most people aren’t aware of this gem that’s hidden right under our noses! What’s better is that the lack of crowds makes it a safer option if you’re venturing out during the pandemic. This place may no longer be known for its diamonds, but it turned out to be one hidden away in the dusty roads of Chettinad!
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