Chidambaram which sprawls over an area of 5 sq. km, is a small town situated in the east central part of Tamil Nadu at a distance of 250kms away from the state capital, Chennai.Chidambaram literally means sky infused with an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom derived from the words 'Chit' and 'Ambaram'.It is a very famous pilgrim spot for the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Chidambaram is noted in the history especially for its renowned Dravidian style of temple architecture and the town was initially the northern frontier of the ancient Chola kingdom. The place is also known for its culture and tradition.
Chidambaram extends 11.24°N and 79.44°E and is situated in the east-central part of Tamilnadu state of India.
IDEAL TIME TO VISIT
The ideal time to visit Chidambaram is between the months of February to June.
Chidambaram is also popularly known by the name Thillai for in olden days it was more of a forest with a variety known as thillai which is a species of mangrove trees. History dates back to a small shrine on the bank of a tank where the two renowned saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali were worshipped. This place is now referred by the name Thirumoolanathar.The act of self-mortification of these two saints was accomplished, where Lord Shiva was very pleased and it is believed that on the day of Thai Poosam Lord Nataraja revealed himself by his cosmic dance. Later in this place a golden hall of dance was built by Jatavarman Sundra Pandya (AD 1251-1272) and was covered with gold plates.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
The major festival celebrated in Chidambaram is the Natyanjali Dance Festival which takes place in the month of February-March for a period of five days. It starts on the day of Maha Shivaratri.Participants come from different parts of the world to take part in this cultural performance. The other festivals celebrated here are Markazhi Thiruvadhirai in the months of December - January and Adi Thirumanjanam in June. The festival of Panguni Uthiram is also celebrated here during March.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The Nataraja Temple
The Nataraja Temple is supposed to be one of the most renowned and oldest temples of Tamil Nadu which sprawls over an area of 40 acres. The temple is situated in the centre of the town. 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 other features of the temple is that the Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres and the Northern tower to a height of 42.4 metres.The western and the eastern tower are quite famous for it is engraved with 108 Bharatha Natyam dance poses of Lord Natraja.
The Thillaikaliamman Temple was built during the period of 1229 and 1278AD by the famous ruler Kopperunjingan and the presiding deity of this temple is Goddess Kali. The legend behind this temple states that Goddess Kali's anger was not controlled even after killing Tarakasura, the demon. So in order to cool her down Lord Nataraja performed the tandava dance here. It is said that people who make a visit to the Nataraja temple should also visit the Thillaikaliamman Temple.
Deva Sabha and Raja Sabha
These are the two halls of celebration of festivals and victory. The main feature of the Raja Sabha is that it is a thousand-pillared pavilion where the Pandyas and the Cholas celebrate their victory and also thank Lord Natraja for their success. The other festivals were conducted and celebrated in the Deva Sabha.
Poompuhar served as a major port during the period of Chola dynasty and is situated at a distance of about 40 km from Chidambaram. The main attraction for tourists visiting this place is the beach and the art gallery which is built and maintained by the Tamil Nadu Government since 1973.This was one of the hot place for ancient tamil literature. The gallery portrays more scenes and articles related to the famous literature Silapathikaram.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was once the capital of Chola king Rajendra I who also takes the credit of finding the city.Gangaikonda Cholapuram houses a temples of Lord Shiva which is noted for its beautiful sculptures. This place is situated at a distance of about 42 km from Chidambaram.
Pichavaram is a very famous place for its backwaters and is situated at a distance of about 16 kms east of Chidambaram. This place is filled with lot of tourism resources providing scope for other entertainments like boating and water sports like parasailing, rowing and canoeing. The Pichavaram backwater is interconnected by the Vellar and Kollidam.
Neyveli one of the countries leading place for its lignite and it’s associated by products.Neyveli one of the biggest industrial areas is also known for its ceramic wares and coal used for cooking. This place is situated at a distance of about 30 kms. from Chidambaram. It makes a very good educational trip to this place.
The Kalvarayan hills which sprawls over an area of about 600 sq. kms is situated at an altitude from 315 mts. to 1190 mts.The Kalvarayan hills falls under the Kallakurichi Taluk and is situated 150 kms north west of Chidambaram.It is an ideal place to go on trekking. The other attraction here is the botanical garden with two other waterfalls. In the month of May there is a summer festival held here.
It was here in Tarangambadi there was the Danish settlement which has its evidence from 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.
Annamalai University one of the foremost and major educational center in the country was founded by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar.This University spreads over an area of three hundred acres and is a great centre of Tamil learning and Carnatic music with various other disciplines like Medicine, Agriculture, Engineering etc.
4.Akshaya Hotel - 17/18 E Car Street
5.Bhagyalakshmi Hotel - South Car Street
8.Hotel Anu Pallavi
101-102 South Car St
2.Hotel Raja Rajan
162 W Car St
Vemigopal Pillai St, opposite the railway station
South Car St,
PM Lodge, 15 S Sanathi
Venugopal Pillai St
10 Venugopal Pillai St
127 Bazaar St
near the bus stand
opposite the bus stand
11.TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu
on Railway Feeder Rd
17 E Car Street
The airports at Tiruchirapalli (195 km) and Chennai (245 km) are the nearest airports from Chidambaram. From Tiruchirapalli, Indian Airlines flights can be taken to Chennai (Madras). Chennai is connected to all the major cities in India and abroad through regular flights.
Chidambaram is located on the Madras-Tiruchirapalli main line of the Southern Railway. It is connected with Tiruchirapalli, Madras, Madurai (335 km), Rameswaram (575 km), Bangalore (340 km), and Tirupati (290 km).
There are frequent bus services available to various places in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Pondicherry states from Chidambaram. Non-stop bus services and express bus services are also available to major cities like Chennai.