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Location : Tamil Nadu
Languages : Tamil, English
Major Attractions : Chidambaram Temple, Annamalai University
Best Visiting Time : Feb-Jun
Forming the east-central portion of Tamil Nadu, Chidambaram rests in the peaceful surroundings of Coleroon Valley. Located at 250 kilometers from Chennai, this tourist post is also an important pilgrim center that attracts devotees from different parts of the country. The word "Chidambaram" means surrounded by wisdom. Most of the area is plain and lacks any rugged terrains. There is a whole lot to explore here as far as tourism is concerned. Temples are its major attraction; most of the temples are built in Dravidian style.
There are several man made and natural tourist attractions that are part of Chidambaram; most of then are Temples and shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and his incarnations.
Natraja Temple :
This exclusive temple is associated with cosmic dance form of Shiva. Here the lord is worshipped as Chidambara Rahasyam. The roots of the temple are buried deep into the history and the worship of the deity is old as Sangam Period of Tamil Nadu's history. As you visit this temple of structural excellence, you will be overwhelmed by countless emotion that is going to overpower you. This brilliant masterpiece was constructed during the reign of King Bira, a Chola ruler. The popularity of the structure is evident from the fact that it draws devotees as far as Sri Lanka. Unlike other Shiva abodes, where the deity is worshipped as Lingam, the worship of the lord takes place as an idol.
Architecture of Natraja Temple :
This temple of Chidambaram has an inner sanctum where images of Shiva and Parvati have been placed in "Chit Sabha". In the nearby area, another hall called Kanka Sabha is also present. Chi Sabha houses images of Shiva as Natraja and Shivakami. At Kanka Sabha, you will notice doors with silver panels. Another chamber here is Nritta Sabha or the room for dancing. This beautiful structure is built in the form of a chariot and houses images of Shiva in the form of "Urdhava Tandava". At Dev Sabha, there are images of five Hindu deities. Apart from these sanctums, the magnificence of the temple is exhibited in its splendid towers (gopurams). There are four gopurams at four corners. Each of these pillars is a massive piece carrying a height of 250 meters.
Festivals at Temple A number of festivals are celebrated at the temple premises. Brahmotsava is the major festival here that is celebrated twice in a year. The festivities at this temple of Chidambaram extend over a period of ten days. The main characteristic of these festivals is the colorful procession that involves carrying the images of the revered deities.
Natyanjali Festival :
In order to have the real feel of Chidambaram, be a part of thus Festival that involves dance performances dedicated to Cosmic dancer. Visit the temple in the month of February or March when the dance performers from all parts of the country throng to the place to take part.
Kali Temple :
In the northern direction of Chidambaram, a Kali Temple is located; it was built by a 13th century ruler called Kopperunjingam.
This place around Chidambaram is famous for mangrove ecosystem that offers the tourists a picturesque picnic spot abounding in scintillating natural beauty. Another attraction here is backwaters that form an important destination for enjoying water sports.
Annamalai University :
This center of learning and knowledge is sprawled over a massive area of 300 acres. Students from different background take admission in different courses provided by this esteemed educational institute. Students get enrolled in courses like medicine, engineering, art etc.
There is lot to see around Chidambaram that can be the part of your tour. Let's have a look into some of these attractions:
Kalvarayan Hills :
Located near Kallakurichi Taluk, these hills offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are hills as high as 1200 meters look for a botanical garden that is perched atop a hill. Apart from this, you can also spend time trekking over the hills.
Here, you can see the remnants of Dutch settlements; Dansberg fort belongs to 17th century and was important structure at that time. It was occupied by top Dutch officials.
This industrialized place excels ion thermal power generated by using lignite. There are a number of factories related to fertilizers, ceramics and cooking coal.
Most of the accommodations available here are of small or medium budgets.
Chidambaram is an offbeat destination; there is immense religious significance associated with this unique destination.