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NAGARATHAR

The Nagarathars are also known as Nattukkottai Chettiars and trace their origins to Cauvery Poompatinam under the Chola Kingdom. The name Nattukottai has an interesting origin. The King lived in his Kottai or castle while the other members of the Nagarathar clan lived in their countryside mansions or Kottais. This is where the name is derived from.

  

The Pandiya king had gifted the Nagarathar community nine villages around Pudukkottai. They settled here and built all the infrastructure necessary for comfortable living. They were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva and built a magnificent Shiva temple at each village. Based on this, the community was

divided into the 9 temples or 9 kovils. The community lives in 96 villages surrounding the Temple. There are different rules that govern the marital relations between members of different Nagarathar kovils. Since members of each temple or kovil treat each other as brothers and sisters or pangalis, marriage is not allowed amongst members of the same temple. When members of different kovils intermarry, the wife automatically takes on the kovil of her husband.

Nagarathars featured as an important trading class of the 19th and 20th centuries in South East Asia. Their traditional occupations consisted of money-lending and wholesale trading. In fact, they had established the Indian Overseas Bank and the now defunct Bank of Chettinad and Bank of Madurai.

The Nagarathar community has been known for its keen business acumen and has developed many flourishing businesses ranging from automotive, construction, real estate, films to many other industries. They have established themselves as a flourishing community wherever they stepped and have also spread their wings across the globe especially in Srilanka, Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

  

The Nagarathars also spread Hinduism in the countries they settled or traded with. Temples dedicated to Lord Murugan are among the most prominent of the temples they established. The Nagarathars have built Thandayuthapani temples in 15 locations across Malaysia. Singapore has two temples while Sri Lanka

 
has four including the famous Selva Vinayagar Temple (Kandy). Myanmar has 50 temples and Saigon has two which were built by the Nagarathars. Besides this, they maintain various Nagarathar temples across the  globe including temples in North America. Their love for fine arts like painting,  architecture, dance and music are legendary. They are not only great patrons of art but many Nagarathars are also
  

blessed with artistic talents that they put to good use. Their homes and offices are artistically decorated with a fine selection of traditional Chettinad furniture, Tanjore paintings, sculptures and other forms of art. They are also known for their philanthropy.

 
  

They are also known for their philanthropy. The contribution of Nagarathars to the country and the world is remarkable. Besides the growth of business, they are strong upholders of Indian culture and tradition and have spread it across the globe too.

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