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Holy Destinations of India

Chidambaram

Chidambaram greets us with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja - God Siva, in the form of a cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples where Siva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique not only it is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam, but also it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts

Most visitors come to see the impressive Rameswaram Temple, famous the world over for its lengthy and ornate corridors, representing fine architectural masterpieces. Rameswaram also boasts of fabulous beaches edging its coral reef waters abundant with exotic marine life, making it a haven for adventure seekers.

The temple town of Chidambaram, 58 km south of Pondicherry greets the visitors, with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja - Lord Shiva in the enthralling form of a Cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples, where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Chidambaram is also called Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of Thillai shrubs. It is one of the five Shaivite mukti sthalams, the other four being Kalahasti, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvanaikaval. A unique feature of Chidambaram is that a person of any race or religion can visit the shrine and pray


 

History of Chidambaram

Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.

The golden hall of dance was built and covered with gold plates by Jatavarman Sundra Pandya (ad 1251-1272). He was very proud of his achievement, and as such assumed the title of Hemchandandana Raja (literally the king who covered the temple with gold).

 

General Information :-

Area 5 sq. kms.
Population 58,740 (1991 census)
Altitude 5.97 m
Climate
Max. Min.
Summer
37.1 c 36.4 c
Winter
21.3 c 20.1 c
Rainfall 83.5 cms average
Clothing Tropical
Season Throughout the year
Languages spoken Tamil and English
STD Code 04144


Major Attractions of Chidambaram

The Natraj Temple The temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. The Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. 108 Bharatha Natyam dance gestures can be seen on the Eatern towers as well as Western tower. The Northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 metres. The Sivakamiamman temple, the Sivaganga tank, the thousand pillar hall are other important features of the temple.

Kali Temple
The Thillaikaliamman temple is on the northern end of the town. It was built by Kopperunjingan, who ruled between 1229 AD and 1278 AD.

Viadanatheeswarar Temple
About 25km. south of Chidambaram, Vaitheeswarankoil is well known for its Viadanatheeswarar Temple, dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. People come bathe in the tank waters in the belief that illnesses will be cured.

 

Excursions

Pichavaram
Pichavaram, 16 kms. east of Chidambaram, ranks among the most exquisite scenic spot with abundant and varied tourism resources. The backwaters which are interconnected by the Vellar and Kollidam system offer abundant scope for water sports - parasailing, rowing and canoeing.

Neyveli
It is about 30 kms. from Chidambaram via Vadalur. It is one of the biggest industrial complexes in the country. The lignite mined here is used for thermal power generation. Apart from fertilisers ceramic wares and Leco (cooking coal), a number of by-products are also produced from lignite.

Kalvarayan Hills
The Kalvarayan hills are situated 150 kms north west of Chidambaram on the western side of Kallakurichi Taluk. Spread over an area of 600 sq. kms. approximately with the height ranging from 315 mts. to 1190 mts. these hills offer a temperate climate and quiet solititude. There is a botanical garden on the hills. There are two waterfalls here. The area is ideal for trekking. A summer Festival is also held every year in May.

Tarangambadi
Once the site of a Danish settlement, Tarangambadi has the remains of the Dansborg fort built by Ore Gedde, the commander of the Royal Dutch Navy, in the 17th century. The fort constructed in 1620 with two storeys was the most important building which housed the top echelons of the Danish officials. Apart from the ramparts, the rest of the buildings are in good condition.

 

Photos of Chidambaram

chidambaram temple Natraj Temple, chidambaram


Accessibility / How to reach
:-

Air
Nearest Airport is Trichy.
Rail
It is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Chennai.
Road
It is also connected with all major towns.

 

Accommodation in Chidambaram

Apart from the Rest house of  Tourism Department, there are plenty of good ashrams, dharamshalas and hotels in the city for stay of tourists. Some are- (1) Tourist Bungalow (Alaknanda), Haridwar Ph. 226379, 223787 (2) Rahi Motel, Near Bus stand, Haridwar Ph. 226430, 228686 (3) Railway retiring rooms. Ph. 131

 

Fairs and Festivals at Chidambaram

The Natyanjali festival, which brings all the prominent dancers of India, together on the same platform, opens on the auspicious occasion of Mahasivaratri, in the month of February. It is performed at the 'Prakara' of the temple, and the dancers, full of intense bliss and devotion, with their evocative abhinaya, offer their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja.

       

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