In my previous post I told you all about the fantastic Hotel Bangala in Karaikudi. The Bangala is a great base for exploring the Chettinad region and Karaikudi has some surprises of its own too…
Some of the best sights to see are:
The Karaikudi fresh produce markets are a fabulous, colourful market found on the outskirts of Karaikudi. Here you can delight and amaze at the wide variety of fresh produce for sale. Even if you don’t want to buy anything it is a wonderful experience. You can buy fresh flowers for your hair (10 rupees) or a delicious bunch of bananas. The piles of herbs will delight your nose and the people are so friendly and proud of their produce.
The Athangudi tile factory is a fascinating place to visit. You can watch local artisans make and then decorate the sun-baked sand tiles. These are very popular tiles that are transported all over India. The Bangala Hotel used the tiles to pave around their heavenly pool.
Visit the old Chettinad houses both in Karaikudi and the surrounding villages.
The Karaikudi Theatre is a five minute walk from the Bangala. Here you can catch the latest Tamil blockbuster. We saw a Tamil comedy. Even though the film had no sub-titles we could easily follow the plot. We enjoyed reclining on the dusty old chairs and soaking up the atmosphere while snacking on our Guru Munch chocolate bar.
The Chettinad region is also famous for its Chettinad cotton saris. In Karaikudi you can watch a sari being created and purchase one very cheaply. I now have mine hanging as a swag in my kitchen. A constant reminder of my divine time there.
Now for Karaikudi’s hidden secret and a find for all those who love to shop. Karaikudi has a whole street devoted to antique shops. Both sides of Muneeswaran Temple Lane is lined with antique shops. Many of the antiques have come out of old Chettinad houses. We spent hours browsing through the dusty shelves and delighting at the most interesting old antiques and collectables.