Chidambaram Tourist Places Or Places to Visit in Chidambaram Tamil Nadu India

Chidambaram is a major tourist centre that opens the real gateway to the land of temples.  It is the abode of the cosmic dancer Sri Nataraja.  It is also a centre of learning, a centre of culture, a centre of pilgrimage, and a centre of Dravidian art and architecture.  The original name of this place was Thillai Vanam (forest). Thillai (Excecasia Agallcha) is a kind of thick shrub. The real meaning of Chidambaram is consciousness, ambaram - sky (space) [cit - consciousness, ambaram sky (space)].  It is one of the five element places f Lord Siva and the element represented here is the sky (space) - ambaram.  Hence, the name Chidambaram.  The Pandyas, the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Vijayanagar kings have all worshipped the dancing Nataraja and enriched the temple with various works including the gold plating of the vimanam (dome) of the sanctum.  Besides, the temple was also used as a garrison by the Marathas, the French, the British and by Hyder Ali for over 35 years during the Carnatic Wars.  The famous Natyanjali festival is held here every year to pay homage to the Cosmic .

This has been the home of noted Tamil poets and saints.  It was in this holy city, that the Chola King Raja Rajan redeemed the finest poems of the Nayanmars, the great Saiviate saints.  The great Nataraja Temple, of Lord Siva as the Cosmic Dancer is the highlight of the Dravidian temple architecture here at Chidambaram.  It was the capital of the Cholas during 907 to 1310AD and the temple was build during their later period.  It is also unique in the sense that it enshrines both Shiva and Vishnu under one roof. 

Chidambaram Town

Chidambaram is also famous for its 10-day chariot festivals in April/May and December/January and the Natyanjali Festival in February.  The residential Annamalai University, founded by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, located on the eastern outskirts of the town is renowned for Tamil research and Carnatic music.  It now offers education in various faculties like science, arts, agriculture, medicine, engineering, and fine arts.  The Ayyappan Temple built by the Annamalai University is a replica of the temple in Sabarimala.  Chidambaram is a small town, which has developed around the Nataraja Temple.  Chidambaram is easily accessible from Chennai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, and Trichy by rail and bus.  There is frequent bus service to Puducherry and on to Chennai.

 

Chidambaram City

Spread over an area of 600 sq km, Kalyaran Hills (150km) are ideal for trekking. A botanical garden and two waterfalls here add to its attraction.

Located between Sirkazhi and Mayiladuturai it has the details of Vaitheeswaran (Lord Shiva), Thiyal Nayaki (Shakti) and Muthukumaraswamy (Lord Muruga).  This temple is famous for its sculptural wonder and a special thalam for one of the Navagrahas - Angaraharn (Sevai).

A small diversion to the south from Sirkazhi leads to Poompuhar at the mouth of river Kaveri.  From Chidambaram a turn to the right leads to Gangaikondacholapuram, 30km via towns of Komorakshi and Mannargudi.

Places to Visit in Chidambaram

Chidambaram Natarajar Temple

The Nataraja Temple:  The temple called Ponnambalam or Kanaga Sabai is one of the oldest temples of the Chola period.  It is a unique temple where Lord Siva is worshipped in an idol form instead of the usual 'Lingam'.  It is spread over an area of 40 acres with 4 tall portal towers piercing the sky on each side having five sabhas or courts.  The towers were built by Kulotunga Chola, Kopperumchinga, Vikrama Chola and Krishna Devaraya in the East, South, West and North respectively.  The eastern gopuram (tower) is 40.8m high and carved on it are 108 dance poses of Bharathanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu.  The western tower has also similar carvings.  The other two depict the various Thiruvilaiyadalgal or puranic Holy Pranks of Lord Siva.  The tallest is the northern tower soaring to a height of 42.4m.

The presiding deity is Lord Nataraja installed in the Kanaga Sabha, the roof of which is gold-plated.  The icon is the most bewitching dancing pose of Lord Siva.  Adjacent is the shrine of Govindaraja (Vishnu) reclining on the serpent Adisesha and from His naval rises a lotus stem with a bloomed lotus on which is seated Brahma with His four heads.  Therefore one can worship all the trinity of the Hindu faith Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, at the same time, in this temple.  In no other temple, it is possible.  Two other shrines, one dedicated to Subramanya and the other to Ganesha could also be seen in this temple.  A huge Nandi looks devotedly on His Lord and master through an aperture on the wall.  As already stated Lord Siva is represented in the form of 'Akasha'-Sky (space), and it is one of the Pancha Bootha Sthalas of Lord Siva.  Behind the idol, a screen conceals a mystery popularly known as Chidambara Rahasyan (mystery).  While burning camphor is shown to the idol, the screen is removed momentarily to reveal a sparkling light which is symbolic of the removal of the sheath of ignorance to understand the Supreme Truth.  There are two mandapams inside the complex, one 100 pillared and the other 1000 pillared.  There is a big tank mirroring the north gopuram.  The Nrithya Sabha is an artistic work of elegance with its minutely chiselled pillars carved to resemble a chariot drawn by horses.

The Srimulanatha complex and the shrine of goddess Sivakami contain beautiful paintings in the ceiling.
Natyanjali Festival: It is jointly organized by the Department of Tourism, Govt.  of Tamil Nadu, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Natyanjali Trust in Chidambaram.  It is generally held i February and opens on the Maha Sivarathri Day.  Prominent dancers of India perform their dance and offer it to the cosmic dancer Nataraja in the vicinity of his sanctum sanctorum.  It is a unique tourist attraction and all the dances of India, both classical and modern, are performed.

Spread over an area of over 20 hectares, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva or Lord Nataraja the cosmic dancer, in its element form, ambaram (space or sky).  Celebrating the aesthetics of the body, the 108 dance gestures, known as mudras, engraved on the two towers of this temple transports us to the rhythm or the cosmic dance.

Thillai Kali Temple

Thillai Kali was the original Goddess of Thillai Vanam i.e. Chidambaram.  Lord Shiva had to perform Urdhuva Thandava by raising one of His legs up, to subdue Her in a dance competition.  Hence, She has to leave the place offering it to Nataraja.  So, Her temple is located in the northern outskirts about 1.6km from the shrine of Sri Nataraja.

About 1.5km from the temple of Nataraja in the north corner of the town is the Thillaikaliamman Temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, built by Kopperucholan (1229-1278AD).  Thillaikaliamman is the ancient name for Chidambaram and Goddess Kali was its presiding deity.  Lord Shiva supposedly performed Tandava here to subdue the Goddess Kali in a dance competition.  Hence, she left the place offering it to the Lord, and thus a temple came into existence.

Annamalai University

This university is located on the eastern side of the railway station.  It is a residential university founded by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar.  It is renowned for Tamil research studies and Tamil music.  It offers education in various faculties like Arts, Science, Medicine, Agriculture, Fine Arts and Engineering.  There is also a marine biology department at Porto Nova.

Pichavaram

Pichavaram is about 16km east of Chidambaram lies a most beautiful scenic spot spread over 2800 acres of mangrove forest.  It is formed in the backwaters which are interconnected by the Vellar and Kollidam systems offering abundant scope for water sports, para-sailing, rowing and canoeing.  The Pichavaram mangroves are the healthiest mangrove occurrences in the world.  A number of islands interspersing vast expanse of water covered with green trees make this place enchanting.  The back water is separated by a sand bar from the sea making it an extraordinary places of loveliness.  Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation offers boating, accommodation and restaurant facilities.

It is about 15km east of Chidambaram at the mouths of the river Vellar, Coleroon and Uppanar, this mangrove forest is a protected ecological site and is considered one of the healthiest in the world.  It is unique in that it consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with dense green foliage.  The area is spread over 1128 hectares and separated from the sea by a sand bar. The numerous channels and creeks are ideal for boating.  It is a botanist's delight with its flora and bird lovers will find a variety of birds like water snipes, cormorants, egrets, storks, herons, spoonbills and pelicans.  TTDC provides for boating facilities and accommodation.

A coastal village with a vast area covered by mangrove forest, criss crossed by backwaters of the sea presenting an excellent place for picnic.  The back waters which are interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon system offers abundant scope for water sports like towing, Kayak and canoeing.  The forests offer scope for backwater cruises.  To the botanist, rare species of plants will present special attraction.  To the bird watcher, it is an excellent experience as numerous birds migrate to this place during winter.  it is a popular place for week-end holiday as convenient buses are available to this place.  A few cottages and a restaurant are available at this place.

Sri Mushnam

Sri Mushnam is located north west of Chidambaram.  There is a big Vishnu temple of Bhuvarahaswamy (incarnation of Vishnu as a boar) here. It is one of the eight Swayam Vyaktakashethra (Spontaneous manifestation without being installed by anyone) in the south.

It is 31km from Chidambaram is Srimushnan famous for its temple of Bhuvaraha.  The self-crafted image enshrined here represents the Varaha incarnation of Lord Vishnu.  The 17-century chariot look-alike front mandapams of this temple with the elegantly carved figures of warriors riding horses and elephants is its highlight.  The Nayaks who built it are illustrated in carved royal portraits on the pillars at the centre of the hall.

Melakadambur

Melakadambur is located west of Chidambaram.  The temple here is of the Pala art.  Pala dynasty ruled over Bengal and produced masterpieces of art of a unique style.  The Nataraja found in this temple dances on a bull and the idol belongs to Pala art.

Sirkazhi

Seerkazhi is about 20km from Chidambaram.   It is the birth place of one of the top 4 Saivaite saints named Thirugnana Sambandar and the legend proclaims that Goddess Parvathi breastfed the child Gnanasambandar as he was crying in the tank bund.  The tank is inside the temple and is known as 'Mulaippal Thirtham'.  During the  month of April, a festival in memory of this legend is celebrated here.  The temple is a Madakkoil a structure with a storey attached. A very popular temple associated with Gnana Sambandhar who was blessed by the goddess Tirunilai Nayaki by feeding the baby with milk.  Every year the milk Festival is celebrated to commemorate this event.  There are three shrines in the complex, the main temple dedicated to Brahmapurishwarar, Sattanathar and Thoriappar.  The second is the temple for goddess and the third for Gnana Sambandar.

Thiruvenkadu (Swetharanyam)

Thiruvenkadu is 28km from Chidambaram.  The temple is dedicated to Agora Virabadra a fierce aspect of Siva.  An image of Bhikshadanamurthi (Mendicant Siva) unearthed here is an early Chola bronze casting of Lord Siva as a nude mendicant with the writhing cobra clinging on his thighs. The image is now in safe custody in the Thanjavur Art Gallery.  This is also the abode of Budha (Mercury) one of the Navagrahas (nine planets).

Vaitheeswaran Koil

Down south of Chidambaram is located this temple of Lord Siva.  The presiding deity is called Vaitheeswara Lord of Healing.  There is a tank inside the temple free from frogs called Siddha Amritha Theertha a sacred pool reputed to contain nectar which has curative powers.  Another name for this place is Pullirukku Velur.  The sculptures are very wonderful here.  It is the place of one of the Navagrahas - Angarahan(Mars).

Also referred to as Angarakasthalam, this ancient temple, 6km south of Sirkazhi is dedicated to Shiva.  Vaitheeswaran literally means the divine provider of cures and the temple has imposing gopurams, mandapams and pillars.  The God of this temple, according to a belief healed the wounds of the followers of Lord Subramanya during a battle with a giant.  A bath in the holy tank here cures all ailments.

Tirupunkur

Tirupunkur is the place where Lord Siva's mount Nandhi moved a little away from obstructing the Darshan of Lord Siva to Nandanar, the harijan devotee.

Mayiladuthurai (Mayavaram)

This town can be reached by bus from Chidambaram.  The river Cauvery bisects the town into Uttara Mayuram and the town proper.  A fine bathing ghat is provided to bathe in the river. Dakshinamrthi shrine is famous here and the God of Wisdom sits in yoga pose on a Nandhi.  At the bathing ghat, there is another Nandhi in the mid-stream where the waters swirl around him.  It is said that it is a punishment to the arrogant Nandhi.  Nandhi realized his fault and became repentant.  He was allowed to stay in the middle to attain liberation on the full moon day of the month of Aippasi (November - December) when all the holy rivers converge here.  A dip in this place on that holy day is believed to be as holy as a dip in the river Ganges.

The Mayuranathaswamy temple is in the heart of the town.  It is a Siva temple with an imposing nine storeyed tower.  The goddess Durga in the northern niche is a fine piece of workmanship and differs from Durgas of other temples.  A chilling sight is the offering of a devotee who is in the act of severing his head.

Vazhuvur

This place on the southern side of Mayavaram is about 12km away.  It is renowned for its bronze images of exquisite splendor.  The Lord of this temple is called Krithivasa, one who wears the elephant skin.  This is one f the eight places where Siva danced to destroy demons.  The dance hall is called Gnana Sabai Hall of Wisdom.  Behind Gajasamharamurthi idol is a bronze image of the 11th century and is also the only one of its kind a fusion of grace and vigour.  The Bikshadana or Siva as mendicant is another marvel in bronze.  He holds the Damaru (Hand-drum) in one hand, the Kapala in th eother and is seen feeding a deer with His fingers with flowing locks of hair on whh are perched the Crescent and the Ganges and the coy Uma with Skanda cuddled in Her arms makes the onlooker spellbound.

Perambur

Perambur is 14km away from Mayiladuthurai is a Subramania temple.  Though small, the image is of granite and beautifully carved with 6 faces in the pose of Samharamurthi.  Snakes abound this place, but no one has so far been bitten.  The snakes just hiss at those who enter the Iluppai garden stealthily to pilfer.

Therazhundhur

The birth place of Kambar who rendered the epic Ramayana in Tamil, is 10km away from Mayiladuthurai on the way to Poompuhar.  There is a temple of sculptural value here and people point out a place called Kamba Medu as the birthplace of Kambar.

Thiruvakkarai Fossil Park

To those with interest in archaeology, the Thiruvakkarai Fossil Park (60km) is a great attraction.  Arikamedu (75km) is another site of great archaeological interest, seen as the earlier Indo-Roman trading post on the east coast of India.  Excavations here point to its existence also as a Buddhist stronghold during the Sangam Period.

Vriddhachalam

The Vriddhagiriswarar temple with high enclosing walls and four tall gopurams is a big shrine.  The mandapam here is carved like a chariot with wheels and horses.  24 delicately carved pillars with Yalis support the roof.  The chains of the temple car were donated by Charles Hyde, the Collector during 1813.

Nannilam

Nannilam is 25km from Mayiladuthurai is the place called Nannilam.  It is here in Narimanam we get petrol.  The crude petroleum pumped from the oil wells here is taken to the refinery at Ennore, Chennai.  The installations of ONGC for drilling oil wells could be seen here.

Thiruppanaiyur

Thiruppanaiyur is about 3.5km from Nannilam, the temple has palmyra tree as te sacred tree.  It is said the great Chola king Karikala, standing under a palmyra tree, was picked up by the royal elephant and taken to the palace to be crowned as king.  Hence, it has become the sacred tree and the place also got the name Thiruppanaiyur (panal-palmyra).

Engan

The most beautiful and captivating idol of Lord Muruga is located in this temple, 6 miles from Tiruvarur on the Vailankanni Thanjavur highway.  The idol of Shanmuganathar has been carved with minute details even holes are pierced in His ears to insert earrings.  The same sculptor who made the idol at Sikkil cut off hs right thumb to avoid carving another image superior to the Singaravelar.  But Lord Muruga appeared in his dream and bade him to make another image at Ettukudi.  He then blinded his eyes as it excelled Singaravelar of Sikki. Again he had a command to commission another image at Engan.  He sought the help of a woman to assist him as he was blind.  While working, his chisel of the finger of the lady and the spurting blood fell on his eyes. His eyesight was immediately restore and he exclaimed 'Engan' (my eyes) and completed this superb idol.  Hence, the place got its name 'Engan'.

Thiruchenkattankudi

Thiruchenkattankudi is about 13km from Nannilam famous for Asthamurthi Mandapam.  The image of seeralan, the son of Siruthonda Nayanar, who was cooked for meals to Siva and resusoltated by Siva, is in the prakara.  Its idol of Ganapathi is said to have been brought from Vatapi of the Chalukya Kingdom after an expedition by Chola and installed here.  Siruthonda Nayanar was the General Paranjothi who led Chola's forces.  Thiruchenkattankudi is the place where Siruthondar lived and the episode of Seeralan's resurrection happened.  Tiripurantaka and Nataraja in this temple are fine specimens of Chola art.

Thiruvanjiam

Thiruvanjiam is about 10km west of Nannilam.  The sandalwood tree is the Sthala Viruksha here.  Images of Durga, Bhairavar, Rahu and Kethu are of fine workmanship in this temple Vanjinatha the deity is mounted on the Yama Vahana during Masi Dhasami festival (February-March).

Vidyyapuram

Vidyapuram is about 4 and half km from Korandacheri is this place where Rajaraja 1 has built a beautiful Siva temple.  The presiding deity is called Meenakshisundareswarar.  The idol of Meenakshi, the consort of Siva is noted for its artistic perfection and grace.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Gangai Konda Cholapuram is about 50km away from Chidambaram.  The Chola emperor Rajendra I(1012-1044) uilt this temple dedicated to Siva with an imposing goupuram that can be seen miles around.  It is a replica of the Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur built by his father.  There are many beautiful sculptures on the walls of the temple and its enclosures.  It was built in commemoration of his victory over the kingdom abutting the Ganges.  The waters of Ganges were brought in huge vessels by vassal kings and emptied into a huge tank moe or less a lake named Cholagangamwhich liberally means the Ganges of the Cholas.  A big Nandhi in front of th etemple made of brick and mortar, a lion-faced well with yawning mouth through which a fight of steps lead to the water beneath and gigantic dwarapalakas (gate-keepers) are the other thrilling features of this temple.

It literally means the city of Cholas who conquered the Ganga. 30km from Chidambara, the Brahadeeswarar Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram is a replica of the Big Temple at Thanjavur.  After his victory over the kingdoms bordering the Ganga River, the Chola King Rajendra 1 (1014 to 1044 AD) built it the temple is a magnificent testimonial to the artistic skills of the Chola builders.

Entering through east gopuram, you see the huge Nandi made of brick and mortar facing the temple.  Two gigantic dwarpals stand guard at the entrance.  There are many beautiful sculptures on the walls of the temple and its enclosures, though not as ornate as in the Big Temple, Thanjavur.  Particularly noteworthy is a beautiful and detailed frieze depicting the coronation of King Rajendra by Shiva and Parvati.  At the centre of the shrine is a huge lingam on a round stand.  The ornate vimana is almost 55m high. A lion faced well with yawning mouth through which a flight of steps lead to the water beneath is an interesting feature of this temple.  There is also a temple dedicated to Chandikeswara and some other smaller shrines reportedly built by two of Rajendra's queens. From Gangaikondacholapuram a road runs in south to Kumbakonam, about 38km.

Tranquebar (Tarangambadi)

Tranquebar is about 35km north of Nagapattinam on the east coastal line of the Bay of Bengal, tranquebar was a Danish post established in 1620AD.  The Dansborg Fort built by Ore Geddle, the commander of the Royal Dutch Navy, in the 17-century and an old church still survives n the town.  The fort housed the senior Danish officials.  This fort was a busy trade centre until 1845AD when the Danes lost the control to the British. Danish architecture is the main attraction here.  The British Collector's house is 150 years old and is one of the largest buildings in the town.  The majestic Entrance Arch, built in 1792, through which the residents of Tarangambadi enter the town is of great historical and architectural interest.  The Zion Church built in 1701 has an impressive vaulted roof.

The fort today houses an archaeological museum.  Timing 10.00 to 17.00, closed on Fridays. 

There is an old Masilamaninathar Temple built in 1305 by a Pandya King, Maravarman Kulasekara, though the front is in ruin due to sea ingress.  It has a good beach.

Buses ply frequently from Poompuhar, Sirkazhi, Mayiladuturai, and Nagapattinam to Tranquebar.  Accommodation is available in Mayiladuturai, Chidambaram (80km), and Nagapattinam.

Kalvarayan Hills

Kalvarayan Hill is about 15okm northwest of Chidambaram on the western side of Kallakurichi taluk Spread over an area of 600 sq km and hights ranging from 315 to 1190m, they offer a temperate climate and quite solitude.  It is an ideal place of retreat and peace.  A well laid botanical garden pleases the eye.  There are two waterfalls for taking a refreshing bath.  It is an ideal location for trekking too.  Every year in May, a summer festival is held.
All the above places around Chidambaram could easily be visited as there is a good road link to these places and buses too ply to all these places from Chidambaram.

Poompuhar

Also known as Kaveripoompattinam, it was an important port of the Chola Kingdom during the Sangam age.  The city had trading links with the Romans and there existed organized syndicates or merchants in the 1st century AD.  The life and time of the Tamil classics Silappathikaram and Manimekalai recreated at Poompuhar give us glimpses of its glory.  After the Sangam, the most of the city of Kaveripoompattinam was lost under the Bay of Bengal, though a few small villages survived.  Excavations have revealed remains of various buildings, existence of several ring-wells, figures of Buddha, and copper coins of Karikala Chola, all authenticating that this ancient place was planned city.

Silappathikaram Art Gallery set by the Government is an attempt to revive the past glory of this city.  This seven storied monumental memorial has an art gallery depicting scenes from one of the greatest epics of Tamil, Silappathikaram, immortalized in stone on the walls.  The Makara Torana Vayil (7m high) at the entrance of the art gallery imparts an imposing look to the entire structure.  There is also an anklet shaped tank in the art gallery with statues of Kannagi (3m high) and Mathavi (2.5m High).  Illanji Mandram (a tank believed to cure all illnesses), Pavai Mandram ( a place of justice), Nedungal Mandram (a pillar of splendor) and Kotrappandal (ornamental tent or shamiana) recreated here in modern style attract the visitors with their artistic appearance. Poompuhar also has a fine beach and calm waters.  The estuary where the river Kaveri enters the Bay of Bengal can also be seen.  Tourist Information Phone: 04364-260439. Basic accommodation facilities are available in town and some eateries are located near the bus stand. To reach Poompuhar from Chennai (284km), Sirkazhi is the railhead, further connected by road to Poompuhar, about 21km. 

Poompuhar Beaach

This is an excellent calm beach for sea bathing and relaxing.  A view of Sun rise from here will be an unforgettable experience.  There is a Tourist Bangalow with modern facilities at Poompuhar for overnight stay.  State and private buses operate to Poompuhar from Chidambaram.

Mayiladuturai, if coming from Thanjavur is the rail head, 24km from Poompuhar, connected by road. Bus service is available to Sirkazhi and Mayiladuturai from all the important centres of Tamil Nadu.

It is about 2km, Tiruvengadu has a temple dedicated to Sri Swatharaneswar.  This is also the place where Chola bronzes have been found.

Paavai Manram

There is a statue of a lady in this hall, who according to the epic never opened her mouth, but used to shed tears whenever the king deviated from the path of justice or whenever partiality was shown in the court of justice to favors the accused.  Since such a statue could not be created, eight statues have been erected in a circle as indicated in the Tirukkural.

Ilanji Manram

According to the epic, it is said that in ancient Poompuhar, there was a pool whose water would cure infirm people when they took bath in it. Here two pools and a hall with six statues have been built in the hall.

Nadukal Ninna Kaviram

The great epic Silappadhikaram mentions that insane persons regain their sense and evil spirits field the bodies of those possessed if the stone sanctified is worshipped. With a view to signify this belief, one stone with sculptures all around has been erected in this hall.

Parangi Petta (Port Novo)

Port Novo is about 25km from Chidambaram.  The old port was associated with several European countries like the Portuguese, Dutch, British and French.  One can still see the Dutch cemetery called Holander Thottam and the places where the battles were fought. Remnants of a Danish factory and a European iron works can be seen.

Thiruvengadu

Thirivengadu is about 28km from Chidambaram. The temple of Shiva dedicated to Aghoramurthy, as the fierce aspect, is a popular shrine in this place. It is believed that this deity is a powerful one to bestow victory and riches to the devotees.  They would also be relieved of many sorrows and sins committed by them.

Vaideeswaran Koil

Vaideeswaran Koil is about 24km from Chidambaram. This is a popular Shiva temple where the deity is considered as the Divine Doctor.  It is believed that he is the healer of all diseases.  A bath in the temple sacred tank called Siddharmrita Pushkarini inside the enclosure would cure all ailments. Pilgrims throw jiggery balls into this tank as an offering.  A subsidiary shrine has the idol of Subramnya who worshipped as Muthukumara.  Neem tree is considered sacred for this deity.

Srimushnam

Srimushnam is about 30km from Chidambaram. This is a famous Vaishnava temple where Vishnu is worshipped as Bhuvaraha Swamy.  The Nayakas built the front hall in the 17th century, which has been embellished by beautiful sculpture. Shaped like a chariot, it is replete with sculptured figures of warriors riding horses and elephants. The pillars of the hall are also finely ornamented.  This is called as Purusha Sukta hall.

Neyveli

Neyveli is about 50km from Chidambaram. This place is a vast area of industrial complex where lignite is mined on a large scale from the open cast mines using powerful machinery.  The lignite is later converted into usable fuel called Leco and sold to public.  A huge thermal powerhouse has been set up for generating electricity-using lignite as the fuel.  There is also a fertilizer plant where the by-products are used.

Vadalur

Vadalur is about 36km from Chidambaram. A holy place associated with Saint Ramalinga Swamigal who preached universal brotherhood without any distinction of cast or creed.

Vriddhachalam

Vriddhachalam is about 45km from Chidambaram.  Situated on the banks of the river manimuthar, this ancient temple of Shiva is dedicated to Virudhagirishwarar along with his consorts Periyanayaki and Ilayanayaki.  The major festival her is Adi Pinam.

Omampuliyur

Omampuliyur is about 24km  from Chidambaram.  This is a small village on the banks of river Coleroon.  The ancient shiva temple here is known as Pranava Vyaghra Purishwara assocated with several legends.  This is one of the five places where sage Vyaghrapadar (sage with the legs of a tiger) worshipped Shiva.  Hence called as Puliyur according to Shaivite tradition.  There are some unique sculptures in this temple such as Nataraja, Dakshinamurthy, Vyaghrapadar and goddess Pushpavalli.

Shopping

A number of shops are located in the Car street around the temple.  Many curious things can be purchased from Khadi Craft Emporium.  Shops are available in all tourist centre around Chidambaram.
Dancer.

How to reach Chidambaram

Chidambaram is 245km from Chennai and is well connected with several towns in the state.  It is connected by train as well as by good system of roads.  Many buses operated from here to various parts of South India.  Good lodging is available here for overnight stay.  Buses connect the places of interest.  Taxi and autorickshaws are available for local transport. From here, there are bus services to Chennai, Pondicherry, Nagapattinam and Madurai.  It is also connected with rail link, main link going to Rameswaram via Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and Trichirappalli.  The nearest airport is at Trichirappalli from where Indian Airlines connections are available to Chennai, Madurai and Sri Lanka.  Umpteen buses ply daily to Chidambaram and via Chidambaram to various places.

Distance from Other Important Places Or
Chidambaram City Distance Guide

City Distance
Coimbatore 354 Km
Cuddalore 47 Km
Dharmapuri 263 Km
Dindigul 247 Km
Ernakulam 537 Km
Erode 262 Km
Hogenakkal 308 Km
Hosur 330 Km
Kanchipuram 181 Km
Kanyakumari 552 Km
Karaikudi 328 Km
Karur 245 Km
Kodaikanal 210 Km
Kodikkarai 159 Km
Krishnagiri 282 Km
Kumbakonam 74 Km
Madurai 310 Km
Mamallapuram 202 Km
Mysore 458 Km
Nagappattinam 104 Km
Nagercoil 571 Km
Palani 303 Km
Pollachchi 364 Km
Puducherry 68 Km
Poompuhar 40 Km
Pudukkottai 170 Km
Rajapalayam 395 Km
Rameswaram 348 Km
Ranipettai 220 Km
Salem 196 Km
Tenkasi 469 Km
Thanjavur 113 Km
Thekkadi 381 Km
Tiruchchendur 524 Km
Tiruchirappalli 168 Km
Tirunelveli 461 Km
Tirupathi 290 Km
Tiruppur 332 Km
Tiruttani 223 Km
Tiruvannamalai 172 Km
Thrissur 483 Km
Tiruvananthapuram 569 Km
Tuticorin 443 Km
Udagamandalam 401 Km
Ulundurpet 72 Km
Valparai 404 Km
Vellore 227 Km
Yercaud 225 Km