Cuddalore Information

Cuddalore is the land of Vallalar. It is about 180km south of Chennai, is a minor port on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.  It is about 20km from Pondicherry.  It has played a prominent role in history and religion.  Cuddalore literally means city near the sea.  It played a vital part in battles during the colonial period.  Fort St. David, the fort built by the British near the sea was once a strategic point of vital importance.  One could now see the ruins of this fort on the shore.  There is a palm fringed backwater in the old town which is now a fishing village and the port is located here. It was once a dominant Jain Centre and in the new town called Thiruppathiri puliyur, there once flourished a Jain centre.  Loka Vibaga a famous Jain treatise was written here.  The famous Pataleeswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has an imposing tower and beautiful sculptures of the Pallava and later Chola periods. It was here that the famous saint Appar was proselytized from Jainisim to Saivism.  Legend has it that he was tied to a huge boulder and hurled into the sea and by singing hymns on Siva, escaped unscathed.  Later, the Pallava king Mahendravarman who embraced Jainism was reconverted to Saivism by Appar.  The river Gedilam passes through Cuddalore.

A 2,000-year-old trading port, Cuddalore is named after its location, Koodal oor 'place at the confluence' of three rivers, the Pennaiyar, Paravanar and Gedilam, which divides it into Old Town and New Town.  Elihu Yale, a British officer bought a seafort from the rulers of Gingee in 1690 and called it Fort St David (near River Gadilam, Devanampattinam).  The deal was struck upon the strangest of clauses: the boundary of the British territory would be decided by random firing of cannonballs in all directions from the fort! Between 1746-52, it served as the British capital on the Coromandel Coast.  The streets retain old names of British officers like Clive Street, Wellington Street and Napier Road, while stray Colonial buildings hint at its glorious past. Garden House, earlier the official home of Robert Clive, Governor of Cuddalore, is now the District Collector's residence.  However, the town is a pale shadow of its past with its tree lined esplanades and charming homes with fruit orchards giving way to a bust, industrial township.

The road southwards from Puducherry approaches Cuddalore traversing alternative groves of casuarinas trees.  Cuddalore is a minor port on the Bay of Bengal, 20km from Puducherry. 40km from Cuddalore is Neyyveli, famous for its lignite deposits.

24km , southwest is Vadalur, the site of Satayagnana Sabha founded by Ramalinga Swamigal.  He authored Thiruvarupta that contains songs expounding the Saiva siddhanatha philosophy.  Seven screens separate the sanctum of this temple from the main hall and only on the Thai Pusam day in December-January;  these screens are removed so that the devotees can have the darshan of the jyoti (the eternal flame).

8km from Kattumannarkoil in Cuddalore district, the Melekadambur Amirthakadeswarar Temple is believed to be 1200 years old belonging to Cholas.  The main deity enshrined in this temple built in the shape of a stone chariot with horses and wheels is Amirthakadeswarar dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The temple of Lord Venkatachalapathy at Thiruvanthipuram near Cuddalore is known to be similar to Tirupati Venkata chalapathy.

Thirupathiripuliyar in cuddalore district houses one of the most ancient Shiva temples dedicated to Lord Pateleeswarar believed to be sanctified by the visit of two of the four chief Nayanmars namely Thirunavukkarasar and Thirugnana Sambandhu.

3km from the centre of Cuddalore town is Devanampattinam Silver Beach. One of the most tranquil sandy beaches, it is also the venue of the Annual Summer Festival.  There is a boathouse for the visitors.

Thiruvahindrapuram

Thiruvahindrapuram is on the banks of Gedilam. It is about 6km from Cuddalore.  There is a Vishnu shrine here and the bronze image of Rama in this temple is very beautiful a rarity that cannot be seen anywhere else.   Devanayaka Perumal is the presiding deity.  There is a picturesque bathing ghat in the temple.  Sri Vedanta Desikan, a famous Vaishnavaite saint is said to have lived here for 15 years.

Thiruvadigai Temple

Thiruvadigai Temple is a beautiful Siva temple on the banks of Gedilam. It is about 15km from Cuddalore in Panrutti town a place renowned for cashew nuts and jackfruits.  The Pallava king demolished it and built this beautiful temple.  It is renowned for its artistic images and stucco figures on the vimanam and gopuram.  Even now a big Jain statue in sitting posture could be seen unsheltered in the temple. Some frescoes could also be seen on the ceiling of this temple, though damaged.  A Vishnu temple and Gunapara Iswaran another Siva temple built with the demolished Jain temple coudl also be seen in the vicinity.  Manavachagam Kadanthar's samadhi is also located in Panrutti down.

Vadalur

Vadalur is an important place associated with saint Ramalinga Adigal southwest of Cudalore.  He is the author of Thiruvarupa and a spiritual superman of yester year.  He finally settled in this place and built an octagonal structure called 'Satya Gnana Sabha' here.  This spot was chosen purposefully by him because one could see all the four towers of Chidambaram temple from here.  The sanctum of this sabhai or temple is separated from the main hall by seven screens and only on 'Thai Poosam Day' in December-January all of them are lifted, otherwise only three will be removed.  Jothi or eternal light is worshipped here.  There is also a dharmasala which feeds all the people who come here. It is said that the hearth lighted by Ramalinga Adigal is still kept burning.  Nearby is Mettukuppam where one can see the room in which the saint locked himself and instructed not to open it till a stipulated time.  People in anxiety opened it before the due date and to their surprise no trace of his could be seen there.

Neyveli - the Lignite Town

The lignite town Neyveli is near Vadalur and one can see the giant bucket wheel excavator digging the earth to reach the coals.  Another attraction is the Artesian wells.  It is planned township.  Thermal electric power is also produced here.  With permit, one could visit the open mines and see the busy activities of the digging of the brown coal  and the pumping of water on which the coal deposit is virtually floating under the earth.  The high pressure water underneath has to be pumped before the coal is cut.

Devanampattinam Beach

Devanampattinam Beach is a fine beach with sandy stretches and an ideal location for sea bathing.  Since Cuddalore is a minor harbor one could see a row of ships anchored at a distance which are reached by catamarans and boats.  New housing colonies are coming up here now.

How to Reach?

Cuddalore can be reached by rail and buses.  Road link to all important places are available.  Umpteen buses ply every day to Cuddalore or via Cuddalore.

Where to stay?

Cuddalore is the district head quarters, good lodges worth the name are not available.  The best is to stay at Pondicherry and visit Cuddalore and the nearby places.  There are also some lodges and food is available in many hotels.

Cuddalore Distance Guide

Cuddalore Chidambaram 47 Km
Cuddalore Coimbatore 350 Km
Cuddalore Chennai 183 Km
Cuddalore Dharmapuri 259 Km
Cuddalore Dindigul 252 Km
Cuddalore Ernakulam 533 Km
Cuddalore Erode 244 Km
Cuddalore Hogenakkal 304 Km
Cuddalore Hosur 283 Km
Cuddalore Kanchipuram 134 Km
Cuddalore Kanyakumari 543 Km
Cuddalore Karaikudi 333 Km
Cuddalore Karur 258 Km
Cuddalore Kodaikanal 246 Km
Cuddalore Kodikkarai 206 Km
Cuddalore Krishnagiri 235 Km
Cuddalore Kumbakonam 107 Km
Cuddalore Madurai 301 Km
Cuddalore Mamallapuram 155 Km
Cuddalore Mysore 454 Km
Cuddalore Nagappattinam 151 Km
Cuddalore Nagercoil 562 Km
Cuddalore Palani 308 Km
Cuddalore Pollachchi 369 Km
Cuddalore Puducherry 21 Km
Cuddalore Poompuhar 85 Km
Cuddalore Pudukkottai 206 Km
Cuddalore Rajapalayam 386 Km
Cuddalore Rameswaram 384 Km
Cuddalore Ranipettai 173 Km
Cuddalore Salem 192 Km
Cuddalore Tenkasi 460 Km
Cuddalore Thanjavur 149 Km
Cuddalore Thekkadi 386 Km
Cuddalore Tiruchchendur 515 Km
Cuddalore Tiruchirappalli 173 Km
Cuddalore Tirunelveli 452 Km
Cuddalore Tirupathi 243 Km
Cuddalore Tiruppur 324 Km
Cuddalore Tiruttani 176 Km
Cuddalore Tiruvannamalai 125 Km
Cuddalore Thrissur 459 Km
Cuddalore Tiruvananthapuram 560 Km
Cuddalore Tuticorin 434 Km
Cuddalore Udagamandalam 397 Km
Cuddalore Ulundurpet 69 Km
Cuddalore Valparai 409 Km
Cuddalore Vellore 180 Km
Cuddalore Yercaud 221 Km

 

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