Travel through Tamil Nadu without a map and you might just stumble and find yourself in a fantastical land of massive bungalows that are all but abandoned. These beautiful and alluring bungalows will sing an old tale of time’s arrow marching ever forward. These mansions that you will find in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are haunted, but not by ghosts that are scary, but by ghosts of a culture that left its mark for us to marvel at.
Tale Behind Chettinad’s Abandoned Mansions
Chettinad is a town that is haunted by the past. Remnants of a bygone era adorn the streets of this now-abandoned locality. Chettinad belonged to the Chettiyars, an affluent community of bankers and merchants who dealt with maritime trading.
Covering the expanse of 75 villages, the town of Chettinad is now mostly abandoned as there aren’t many Chettiyars living here anymore. Since their trade relations were mainly in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, etc., many Chettiyars left their homelands to permanently settle in these countries.
Now, years after their migration, what we’re left with are their ornate mansions. These mansions are filled with intricate artefacts and a mysterious emptiness. Most of the mansions are closed to the public and are only populated by their respective caretakers, but there are a few hidden treasures that are open to the public.
Getting There & Stays
The main town of Chettinad is Karaikudi which is approximately 100 kilometres away from the town of Madurai. From Tiruchirapally, Karaikudai is 90 kilometres and from Chennai, it is 400 kilometres. You can fly to Chennai and then take either the bus or the train to Karaikudai.
You can walk around a bit to explore the area. It is advised that visitors rent a car to have a thorough look around since the area is quite extensive and covering it on foot might not be feasible for all.
There are many resorts and homestays in Chettinad. Most of their architecture is influenced by the local style and you can get to experience what it would be like to stay in these opulent and historical mansions.
Have you ever visited this ghost town? Tell us about your experience below!
Cover Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons