The Chettinadu region has a unique history. Home to the famous Chettiar community, specialists in trade, finance, and entrepreneurship, the area experienced fabulous wealth throughout the 19th Century. As the boom times rolled in local families competed with each other to build a series of lavish mansions: embellished with marble, Burmese teak, Venetian stained glass, porticos, courtyards, and fountains. Following Independence however the Chettiar business community hit the skids, with many families falling into bankruptcy, or emigrating across South and Southeast Asia. Today their mansions lie mostly abandoned, making village tours here a curious, evocative, experience. A small handful of mansions have been lovingly restored into upmarket hotels, allowing you – the modern traveller - to experience the lavish comforts of yesteryear.