In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many residents of Chettinad emigrated to South and Southeast Asia, particularly Ceylon and Burma. By 2010 only 74 villages remained of the original 96 including its principal towns of Karaikudi and Devakottai. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil.
Chettinad is located in Sivagangai district on the Trichy and Rameshwaram high road. Its name is derived from the famous plant called "Karai" which is widely spread over this area. Earlier it was a small village in Ramanathapuram district. In 1928 it was changed from Panchayat to Muncipality. The people of Karaikudi played a major role during the India freedom struggle. The city was well facilitated with railways and roadways in 1930 and educational institutions developed to their peak in 1947, by Allagappar who is the Founder of today's Alagappa University. The famous temple PillaiyarPatti is 12 km away from Karaikudi.
After reaching Chettinad you can visit the Mansions and Palaces and can also visit the Lord Ganesha Temple at Pillaiyar Patti followed by lunch at Karaikudi and then drive back to Madurai.