When a break meant loitering by the coffee maker or the tea outlets along OMR, talking about who is binge watching what and vacation plans. This all feels like a long time right?
Now breaks are meant for folding and arranging washed clothes, unloading washed dishes from the dish basket and meal prep . But, we somehow managed to get a plan charted during one such breaks to visit the family deity in Pudhukottai district. I added the heritage village of Kanadukathan , in Chettinadu , as well to the plan and people asked me what’s even there to stay and call that a vacation. So here is the answer to all those people who had their doubts about this quaint little village in Tamil Nadu.
Kanadukathan in Chettinadu ,a small village sandwiched between not so touristy place is such a gem hidden and people are slowly bringing out it’s beauty and culture. The huge mansions of the yesteryear chettiyaars lined out like colorful crayons from a box with intricate art work as ornamentation is all worthy walking the tiny lanes at 2pm when the sun is right above your head. Well, that’s what we did anyway!
Though February is said to have favorable weather to visit Chettinadu, it was extremely dry and hot. After a lavish gastronomical feast(vegetarian)at “visalam by cgh” ,we entered in the village that Sunday afternoon while the rest of the villagers were enjoying their afternoon nap. There was a small stepped pond with a Ganesha temple on its banks and a huge peepal tree. That shade was all that we wanted to park the car before my umbrella was fully opened.
Travel Tip – There are not many great places to eat in the village of Kanadukatha. Visalam by CGH is one luxury option(for both vegetarians and non vegetarians) that needs pre-booking for dine in service.
Other option would be “Chettinadu Narayana Vilas” for the typical chettinadu meals and some light evening snack with tea, coffee.
There were hardly few tourists, a couple who looked newly wedded, a bunch of college kids who looked famished and tanned ,a fruit seller lady sitting under an umbrella’s shade , right in front of the Chettinadu Raja palace selling pineapples and pieces of melons. I went close to her to confirm that entry to the palace is now prohibited, unless you have some connection with the royal family. She confirmed with no interest to continue the conversation and I moved thanking her to let myself fall in love with the colored glass panes complementing the white palace. It was a sight and only a 18-400 captured the beauty.
We started walking along the lanes that looked ruler straight, planned with neat culverts and trees planted scantily. There were a few cattle-feed , stray dogs and a villager on his TVS50 apart from the three of us . We spent enough time in front of a few houses that had huge gates with rusted locks and cobwebs hanging around.
I took time to absorb the melange of art, colours ,bohemian glass decors while my mind was yearning to get in one of the houses to take a tour. Going by the saying”Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” , I finally managed to get in to one of the houses by volunteering to seek permission to the owner, an slightly older man who was sending off some of his family guests. He was kind enough to let us visit , but he wanted some time and asked us to wait for 30 minutes. Having nothing to do and the heat scorching us, I wanted to take shelter and that is when I came across a hand loom weaving center in one of those lanes.
Having enough experiences with me in handloom centers , the boys decided to stay back and I spent an hour nearly looking at the thari, colored yarns, chatting with the owners of the place Mahalaskhmi and her mother , about the motifs, color palettes ,designs, time involved in creating a saree and seeking their help to choose a saree for me and Neena.I did pick a couple of Chettinadu sarees from them as souvenirs and also to help them with their business. If not us then who would support small business? #vocalforlocal
Travel Tip – There are a couple of handloom weaving centres in Kanadukathan. Sri Mahalakshmi weaving center is one I would recommend.
Realising that we were late,we hurried to the house where the old man allowed us to take a tour of his house. He accompanied us telling stories of how his ancestors toiled to bring this house up some 120 years back. Though this house did not have any exquisite art work or decors, it was so full of life with a huge open courtyard and several rooms overlooking the courtyard. There was also a subsidiary part t o the house, almost similar to the central part. He said the subsidiary part was for the women folks to gather when there was an important function in the family while the central portion was occupied with men folks and visitors.
I was so grateful for he not just let us walk into his house not knowing who we were , but shared a part of his pride in the culture , his woes in maintaining the ancestral property. I folded my hands in the typical Tamil way to thank him(i felt that expressed my utmost emotion) and left the house turning to take a look at it as many times as I wanted, before I stepped out.
We walked slowly talking about the house and reached the temple pond . Our legs cried for some rest and we sat on the stepped banks. It looked like a village scene out of some Bharathiraja movie with the temple bell occasionally ringing, local women carrying water in their plastic pots and kids playing around ,as the sun turned the sky pink grey amd the leaves rustled to the evening breeze. I did not want to leave that place for I know that moment may not repeat any sooner .I even asked if we could visit the next evening aswell to watch the sunset and I had the boys weirdly looking at me.
Travel Tip -Karaikudi is the main town which is 15 mins drive by car and local auto rickshaws are available for a trip to Kanadukathan at a fairly reasonable charge.
Plan your stay in kanadukathan & your walking tour between 6- 8 in the morning or 4-6 in the evening to avoid any fatigue due to heat. Look out for cycle tours offered by the heritage stays.
Now, if you ask me what’s more in Kanadukathan to see and visit, I’d say this is it. All that I have said in above few paragraphs. There are few adjoining villages that I’d write about in the upcoming posts.
But, there’s something about heritage buildings and structures that calms my mind. Walking along these deserted lanes in Chettinadu, soaking in every bit of beauty did all the good to my mind .
That night when I bed crashed it wasn’t the pivot tables and Pareto charts that I visualized ,but the lives of the people who would have lived life king size in these mansion. I visualizes the colors of the doors and the stained glass pane windows,the ornamental gates and the brightly lit pillared corridors, the rustic locks hanging now on the doors and the spider webs around the doorway. How did these houses stand politely after all these years of baking in the heat and drenching in rain?? I took no time to fall asleep without my meditation apps . I had my plan ready for Athangudi village and Solaiandavar temple the next day.
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