Chidambaram Tour Information
Chidambaram is also called as Thillai since the place was originally a forest of Thillai shrub. It is important pilgrim centre and a holy place for salivates as the famous Nataraja Temple is located here. It is about 245km from Chennai.
The Nataraja Temple
The temple is located in the centre of the town. 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 Akas(Sky), one of the five elements as Akasa Lingam. There is also a shrine known as Chitra Kootam dedicated to Lord Govindaraja, adjacent to the Nataraja Shrine. There are five halls in the temple namely, the Nritta Sabha, Deva Sabha,Kanaka Sabha, Chit Sabha and Raja Sabha.
The Chit Sabha houses the Akasa Lingam, Kanaka Sabha houses the Nataraja image. These two sabhas are covered with gold tiles. Nritta Sabha is the hall of immortal dance. This sabha has fifty six pillars depicting dancing figures. Here the stones pulsate with rhythm and life. Deva Sabha is the hall of festivals and meeting place of the administrators. The raja Sabha is the 100 pillar hall measuring 103metres long and 58 metres wode where the kings celebrated the victories. On the side walls of the entrance through the eastern and western towers carved the 108 dance poses of Bharatanatyam.
Thillai Kaliamman Temple
This temple is situated at the northern end of the town. It was built in the 13th century. The legend goes that subsequent to the defeat of Kali in a dance competition with Shiva, Kali was banished from the Nataraja Temple to the outskirts of the town, where the temple was later erected for the Goddess.
Annamalai University is a residential University founded by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar. It is on the eastern outskirt of the town and is a great centre of Tamil Learning and Carnatic music.
Pichavaram is about 16km east of Chidambaram. It covers a vast area criss-crossed by backwaters, thus forming several Islands. The mangrove on these islands provides an alluring charm. It is an ideal place for water sports.
This was a Danish trading port in the 18th century and has a church built by the Lutherans. Dansburg Fort still looks, impressive though decaying and there are some fine old colonial houses.
Virudhachalam is about 45km from Chidambaram. A major town in this district is located on the banks of River Manimuthar. There is an ancient Siva Temple dedicated to Lord Vridhagiriswarar and his consort Vridhambigai.
Srimushnam is located north-west of Chidambaram and is known for the Sri Bhvarahaswamy temple, one of the eight self-created Swayam Vyatka Kshetras in the South.
Vadalur is about 36km from Chidambaram; Ramalingaswamigal popularly called Vallalar had constructed here an octagon shaped sabha. It is called the ‘Sathyagnana Sabai’. It is said that he had chosen this spot because all the four great towers of Chidambaram Temple are visible from here. The sanctum of this Sabha or temple is separated from the main hall by seven screens, of which only three are removed on ordinary days. It is on the ‘Thai Poosam’ day in December-january that all the screens are removed so that the devotees can have a darshan of the ‘jothi’ the eternal flame.
Thiruvengadu is about 28km from Chidambaram. The temple here is dedicated to the fierce aspect of Siva and worship of this form of Siva is said to give victory and riches to the worshipper and the worst of sins are forgiven.