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Chettinad is a region of the Sivaganga district of northern Tamil Nadu state, India. Karaikudi is known as the capital of Chettinad, which includes Karaikudi and 74 (traditionally 96) other villages. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), a prosperous banking and business community. Many of this community's members migrated to South and Southeast Asia, particularly Ceylon and Burma, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people who live in places such as the USA, Singapore and Malaysia.
Chettinad is well known for its Chettinad cuisine, mansions, and temples. "Chettinad" also means a social caste that specializes in the preparation of food. Chettinads are considered master chefs who prepare food that reflects the excellence that people in Chennai/South India look for in the preparation and serving of food. Some cuisines have been renamed, such as Chicken Chettinad (Spicy Chicken Curry) or Veg Chettinad (a curry of selective vegetables) to reflect the specialty and care given during preparation of food.
Chettinad cuisine 
Chettinad is known for its culinary delicacies. Chettinad food now is one of the many reasons why people visit Chettinad. Chettinad food is essentially spicy, with a standard full meal consisting of cooked lentils, Brinjal curry, drumstick sambar, ghee for flavouring rice, and sweet meats like payasam and paal paniyaram. Kara kolambu is a highly regarded south Indian sambar. Aadi kummayam is a mouth watering delicacy for the sweet-toothed ones, made from pulses.
Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture. It is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions. Local legend has it that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of eggwhites to give a smooth texture.
Originally built by early Tamil dynasties like the Cholas, the temples of Chettinad stand testimony to the spiritual beliefs of its denizens. Scattered over the whole place, each temple has its own tank called oorani where water lilies are grown and used for holy rituals. Even today much of Chettinad's daily tidings are centered around the festivities of the temple. Among the many famous temples are Vairavan Kovil temple, Karpaga Vinayakar temple, Kundrakudi Murugan temple, Kottaiyur Sivan temple and Kandanur Sivan temple.
The nearest airports are Madurai Airport and Tiruchirappalli International Airport. The largest town in the area is Karaikudi. Trains that run from Chennai to Rameshwaram stop at Karaikudi, Kanadukaathan (Chettinad Station) and Kallal.
Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, and is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions. Local legend tells that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of eggwhites to give a smooth texture.
The construction material, decorative items and furnishings were mostly imported from East Asian countries and Europe. The marble was brought from Italy, chandeliers and teak from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, crystals from Europe and wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium. The woodwork and stonework was inspired that of the houses in France and other European destinations.
Karaikudi is also known for C.E.C.R.I., a CSIR laboratory specialising in electro-chemical research. The lab has been operational for more than fifty years and has taken more than 750 patents and inventions and published more than 5000 research articles in the areas of Electrochemical Science and Technology[battery, metal finishing, materials science, organic and inorganic electro-chemicals, corrosion prevention and paints. CECRI conducts four-year B.Tech. course in chemical and electrochemical engineering and technology affiliated to Anna University, Chennai.
The Chettinad Sari 
This cotton sari is unique in the dramatic and spontaneous use of colour and pattern with bold checks, stripes and contrasting hues. Its vibrance and weight are its distinguishing factors. The thickness of this sari and changing demands have kept this sari out of production for nearly a hundred years. Records and old photographs show the use of this sari by previous generations, before the advent of blouses and underskirts, worn rather differently from the regular sari.
Aathangudi tiles 
Athangudi tiles, named after the place of manufacture in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, come in a myriad of colors and patterns and are made by a unique process using local soil. These tiles are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Chettiar community, who effectively adapted many influences to their own brand of local craftsmanship. The designs and colors used in Athangudi Tiles are still those of a bygone era. However, of late new designs and patterns are being incorporated.
The Athangudi tiles are hand-made. However, with a short shelf life and relatively slow manufacturing process, these tiles are not much in demand. The situation has led to the decline in the market.
Notable people 
- Dr. Alagappa Chettiar, the founder of the various educational institutions in Karaikudi and its surroundings. Alagappa University, Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology, and Alagappa Government Arts College are a few institutes named in his honour.
- AMM Murugappa Chettiar, founder of Murugappa Group companies which includes EID Parry, Tube Investments of India, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance, Cholamandalam Finance, TI Cycles, and Coramandel International.
- Karumuthu Thiagarajan Chettiar, philanthropist, educationist and founder of mills and Theagaraya Engineering College, Madurai. He was also the founder of the Bank of Madura Ltd. that in 2001 merged with ICICI BANK.
- M. A. Chidambaram Chettiar. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai is named after him.
- Raja Muthiah Chettiar of Kottaiyur, a great bibliophile and founder of one of the world famous libraries with more than 100,000 books, journals, drama notices, wedding invitations, and other materials that normally do not find place in a library. The University of Chicago acquired the collection in 1994 after his death and moved the collection to Chennai and is functioning in Taramani, Chennai as Roja Muthiah Research Library.
- Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, founder of Indian Bank. Annamalai University bears his name.
- M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettiar, founder of the Indian Overseas Bank.
- P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India.
- Justice Chockalingam, a retired judge of Madras High Court.
- Kaviarasar Kannadasan, Tamil poet.
- Dr. Justice A. R. Lakshmanan B.A., B.L., (b. 1942) is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India and current chairman of the Law Commission of India.
- A. V. Meiyappan Chettiar of Karaikkudi, founder of AVM Productions, the oldest and largest film production studio in Kollywood, the Tamil language film industry of India.
- Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah, founder, minister, Dean International Babaji Yoga Sangam.
- Alamelu Vairavan, television chef in Milwaukee, host of the programme Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu.
- According to Guy Trebay, "Houses of the Holy," (New York Times, 17 Nov. 2010): "By the best available estimates, there are 74 Chettiar villages remaining of the 96 that once dotted a 600-square-mile region. The rest have been erased, lost either to neglect or to the avarice of antiques dealers who bought and razed them after first stripping out their irreplaceable materials." (Retrieved 28 Nov. 2010 from NYT at http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/houses-of-the-holy/?scp=3&sq=Tamil%20Nadu&st=cse.)
- "Chettinad". Pbase.com. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Interview With Thiru Alamelu Vairavan Nagarathargateway.com, 2012-04-19.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Chettinad|
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- Roja Muthiah Chettiar - RMRL - Article from Frontline Dec 2005
- Roja Muthiah Chettiar - Article from the University of Chicago Library Magazine
- Roja Muthiah chettiar - Article from Frontline - Sep 2000