The town of Chidambaram - a name that means 'expanded consciousness' is
regarded as a holy town of great importance. It lies on the northern edge
of the Coleroon River in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Also known
as the 'city of the Cosmic Dancer' Chidambaram is the site of great Nataraja
Temple, dedicated to Shiv Nataraj (the dancing Shiva), the form of Lord
Shiva. The image of Nataraj represented by the bronze image known throughout
the world as the most perfect synthesis in metal of art.
According to Tamil sacred geography, the Earth's main vain or Susuhumna
nadi (one of the three major energy pathways in the human body) passes
through Chidambaram, ending at the power spot of the temple. Chidambaram
is also one of the five Shaivite mukti sthalams, the other four being
Kalahasti, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvanaikaval.
Chidambaram also hosts the annual Natyanjali dance festival.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is celebrated every year during February-March
for five days in the Chidambaram Natrajar Temple premises.
This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all over India, to perform
and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja. It begins on the auspicious
occasion of Maha Shivaratri. During this time leading dancers from all
parts of India congregate and dance in the temple as an offering to Nataraja. Many
dancers think it is a blessing to be able to perform their 'arangettam'
(first stage performance) in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum of
Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram. The festival lasts for 5 days.
Sight Seeings in Chidambaram
Chidambaram Natrajar Temple
It is located in the temple town of Chidambaram, 60 km north of Karaikal
in Cuddalore District, the east-central part of the Tamil Nadu state.
It is dedicated to Shiva Nataraj, in the enthralling form of a Cosmic
Dancer. An exquisite example of Dravadian architecture, the temple is
one of the oldest temple complexes in the south India. Along with temples
to Vishnu, Parvati, and Ganesh, the complex covers an area of 40 acres.
One of the major pilgrimage destinations in Tamil Nadu, the temple is
founded in the Chola Era. Read
The Chitrakootam is another shrine, situated adjacent to the Nataraja
temple. Dedicated to Lord Govindraja, as well as Lord Vishnu, this temple
is among the few temples in India that are dedicated to both Vishnu and
Shiva. It has five halls. The Nritta sabha, the hall of immortal dance
has 56 pillars depicting dance figures. The Deva Sabha was the hall of
festivals and meeting place of the administrators. The Chit sabha (Hall)
houses the Akasa Lingam and Kanaka sabha houses the Nataraja image.
The Thillaikaliamman temple is on the northern end of the town. Dedicated
to goddess Kali, it was built by Kopperunjingan, a Chola King who ruled
between 1229 AD and 1278 AD. Open 9 am to 1 pm and 3 to 6 pm.
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.
Situated 15 east of Chidambara at the mouths of the rivers Vellar, Coleroon
and Uppanar, it is the second largest mangrove forest in the world. Spread
out over 3,000 acres comprising more than 1,700 islets, it is separated
creeks and protected from the sea by a sand bar. About 10 km from Pichavaram,
there is a Marine Biological Research Station on the North bank of the
Vellar River. There is a Visitor Reception center near to Marine Biological
Research Station. Pichavaram offers waterscape, back water cruises (2
hour boat ride R. 125/hr) and photography also.
It is a famous village where one can find famous Nadi astrologers.
The village is about 25 km from here.