Chidambaram is a town in the Cuddalore District. It is the Taluk Headquarters of the Chidambaram taluk and 235 Km from Chennai and 78 km South of Pondicherry. Pitchavaram wetlands, the second largest mangrove forests in the world has a large presence of the ancient Tillai Trees, surrounding the temple town. Tillai ambalam literally meaning the open stage of Tillai.It is the location of the popular CHIDAMBARAM NATARAJAR temple also called as Thillai Natarajar Temple.The Chidambaram Taluk has a Population of 4,69,416 and the Municipal Town’s population is 62,153.Shrine of Lord Narasimha and Adivaraha are located near the sea shore. Lord is known as“Valvendai Gnanapiran”. It is believed that there were originally seven temples here. Only one stood against the ferocious sea. 14th century Vijayanagara King Parankusan shifted the temple to the present location away from the shore to prevent the Sea assault and also formed Four Mada Veedhi [Streets] around the temple. The Ustavar [festival deity] is with a lotus bud in the hand, while the presiding deity displays the Gnana Mudra. The Festival Deity called ‘Ulagu Uyya Nindra Piran” with his consorts; Valavendai Gnanapiran or Adivaraha and also Sri Rama from the Padavedu temple take procession to the sea for the Theertha Vari [Divine Bathing] during the Masi Makam festival. Boothathazhvar avatara festival is also an important festival of this temple. The legend goes thus : Rishi [Sage] Pundarika was once on a penance with 1008 Tamarai [Lotus] flowers to have darshan of Lord Vishnu in his customary recline posture on Adiseshan as Ksheerabdhi Nathan in Thiruparkadal [ Ocean of Milk]. He started the impossible task of emptying the water of the sea. Lord Vishnu appears as an old person and asks the sage for food to eat. Sage goes to fetch food for the old man keeping the Lotus Flowers in the custody of the old man. On his return he finds Lord Vishnu in recline posture, with the garland of the lotus he had entrusted to the old man, on the floor , in an unusual from instead of Adi Sesha Peetam. Since he stood there in that place he is called as the Sthala Sayana Perumal. Contact : 2743245 for details at Sthala Sayana Perumal temple.
Margazhi Thiruvadirai [Dec-Jan], 10 day Panguni Uthiram [Mar-Apr] and Natyanjali [Mar] are the important festivals of the Chidambaram Temple.
Both Government and Private handicraft sales centers, General Markets are located near and around the temple.
By Road: Chidambaram is well connected by Road from Chennai, Puduchery, Nagapattinam and Madurai both by Public and private Transport system. By Rail: The train service from Chennai connects Chidambaram , Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Tiruchirapalli and Rameswaram. By Air: Nearest Airport Tiruchirapalli is 150 kms from ChidambaramTourist Information Tourist Office Railway Feeder Road, Chidambaram – 608001. Landline : 04144 – 238729
This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as Natarajar is one of the Five Sabhas [divine stages] where Lord Siva performed the Cosmic Dance. The traditional name of the temple is Tillai Nataraja-koothan Kovil. Chidambaram is a Pancha Bootha Sthalam, representing Akasam [Sky], one of the five elements of nature. The other four being Tiruvanaikoil [water]. Kanchi Ekambareswarar [earth], Tiruvannamalai [fire] and Kalahasthi [air]. It is believed that Viduvelvidugu Perumtaccan, respected clan of traditional Vishwakarmas, was the chief architect of the temple’s renovation. This temple has 9 gateways, Four majestic 7 tiered towers and Sikaram covered with Gold Plates. The architecture of this temple is unique and dedicated to the art of Bharatha Natyam, a classical dance form of the State of Tamil Nadu. Lord Shiva the Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal enshrined in one complex facing each other, emphasizing siva-vishnu concept is a special feature of this temple. It is also believed that Celestial dance contest of Siva – Parvati took place in the presence of Lord Vishnu.Lord Nataraja has been installed in the Chit Sabha, the Sanctum Sanctorum. Akasa Lingam called as the Chidambara Rahasyam [Secret of Chidambaram] behind the Screen is believed to be there. Goddess Sivakama Sundari is enshrined to the left of Nataraja. The Five silver steps upto the Sanctum Sanctorum is the respected as the Pantchatchara Mantram Na Ma Si Va Ya [Namasivaya]. The Spatika Lingam of Chandramauleeswara, Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, Mukhalingam are also inside Sanctum Sanctorum. Kanaga Sabha, for performing Poojas; Deva Sabha meant for celebration of important festivals; and Raja Sabha measuring 103 meters by 58 meters , a 1000 pillared hall where Sekizhar believed to have recited Periya Puranam are located in the temple. It is believed that Lord Siva Performed the Cosmic dance to please [Ananda Natanam] to Sages Patanjali and Vyakrapada. This temple has 6 time Pooja Format everyday. Before every Pooja, anointment is performed for the Spatika Lingam[Crystal Lingam]. ONLY during the Second Pooja around 10 am, along with Spatika Lingam – A Special Abishekam is performed to the very special The Ruby Natarajar called as Rathna Sababathy , the One foot replica of Natarajar beautifully made out of highly expensive Gem- Ruby. The speciality of this Ruby Natarajar is that, when the Harathi [Deepam/light] is shown from the front it’s view is dark. Whereas, when the Harathi [ Deepam/light] is shown from behind the replica, it displays a mesmeric and awesome exhibit of the workmanship and devotees, on witnessing this spectacle, completely get immersed in Bakthi of Natarajar. Ani Thirumanjanam, Arudhra Darshan [December] – the two annual Brahmotsavams, Natyanjali are the important festivals of this temple.
Kali is the furious form of Goddess Parvati. In this form she is believed to destroy the evils of the world and the evil doers too. This Temple of Kali is believed to have been built by Chola King Kopperumsingan [1229- 1278]. Here Kali appears with four faces like Brahma. A shrine for Goddess Saraswathy as Veena Vidyambika and Lord Dakshinamoorthy in feminine form [ only temple in this form] called as Kadambavana Dakshina Rubini is also located in this temple complex. Legend goes thus: To ascertain supremacy, Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi performed a cosmic dance contest at Chidambaram in the presence of Vishnu and Brahma. Siva played the OORDHVA Thandava and raised his left leg upward, due to the feminine trait Parvathi could not do such act and accepted the defeat. She became furious and moved to this location as Kali. Lord Brahmma appeared and praised Kali as Veda Nayaki to calm down. Accepting his prayer she appeared as Brahma Chamundeswari with four faces. There is a separate shrine of goddess in this form. She is also called as the Ellai [Village boundary] Kali. Devotees worship here on Sundays between 4.30 - 6.00 p.m. [Rahukalam] ; poornima or the full moon days and on Amavasya days seeking relief from worldly problems.Sirgazhi Temple : It is 20 Kms from Chidambaram and an important Saivite temple located between Chidambaram and Myladuthurai. It is the 14th temple of the Chola region on the Northern Kaveri banks maintained by Dharmapura Adhinam. This is a temple revered with 71 Thevara Pathikams [most numbers] by Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar and a special Bhairava worhip temple with Shrines of Sattainathar and Ashta[eight] Bhairavars [Asithanga Bahairava, Guru Bhairava, Chanda Bhairava, Krotha Bhairava, Unmatha Bhairava, Samhara Bhairava, Peeshana Bhairava and Akhala Bhairava]. This is a Majestic and big temple complex with Three Shrines of Lord Siva in this temple Complex. The Ground level or the lower level of the complex that houses the shrine of Brahmapureeswarar, named because Lord Brahmma is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. There is an elevated small hillock structure with around 50 to 60 steps. The second shrine ofPeriyanayagar and Periyanayagi [Uma-Maheswarar] on a Thoni[boat] is located on this hillock, hence he is also called as Thoniappar. By climbing few steps from this shrine one can worship Sattainathar/Vatukanathar, incarnated as Bhairavar. Through the windows on this hillock shrines one can view the entire layout of this Temple, specially the shrine of Ashta Bairavars. Legends 1] Thirugnana Sambandar, the youngest of the saivite saints, born to Sivapada Hrudayar, as a very small boy, once went along with his father to the temple tank. Sivapadar leaving sambandar on the steps when to bathe. Hungry Sambandar started crying for food, Lord Siva asked Parvathi to feed the boy. Along with milk she also fed the abundance of wisdom to Sambandar. 2]Lord Vishnu measured the third step, as per the wish, on the head of King Mahabali to fulfill the boon. Lord Vishnu became haughty and he was afflicted by the Dosha of elimination of King Maha Bali. At this juncture, to play down that pride and arrogance and to establish both Siva and Vishnu are one element of Godliness, Lord Siva incarnated as Vatuga Bairavar wore the Skin of Vishnu as his upper Garment and the bones as Mala [garland]. 3] It is believed that Lord Siva along with Parvathi Saved all the 64 Arts by travelling in a Thoni [Boat] during a devastating deluge and landed at Sirgazhi at this temple site, hence he is called Thoniappar and the town is also called Thonipuram. Brahmotsavam that begins on the Chithirai Thiruvadhirai [April-May] which includes the event of Goddess Parvathi feeding milk to Sambandar; Thailaishekam [Oil Abishekam]to Lord Uma Maheshwar / Thoniappar on the first day of the months of Chithirai, Aadi, Aipasi, Thai , Karthigai Deepam, Margazhi Thiuvadhirai and Maha Sivarathiri are some important festivals of the Temple. Special pujas are performed here on Ashtami days [eighth day of new moon or full moon night] to Bhairavar. No abishekam is performed for Sattai Nathar but Fragrant Punugu Sattam [Paste] is applied to Sattainathar on all Fridays at midnight.
It is just a walking distance from Natarajar Temple. Popularly called as the Thillai Kali Amman temple demonstrates the importance of Siva-Sakti concept. Lord Shiva performed the special cosmic dance the "OORTHAVA THANDAVA" here. The Chola period’s inscriptions are found in this temple.
Popular Siva Temple located here finds reference in the Sangam Literature too. This is also the birth place of Saivaite Saint Thirugnana Sambanthar. It is believed that Goddess Parvathi fed Thirugnana Sambanthar with milk here. To mark this event, annual Tirumulaippal Festival is observed in the month of April. The temple town is well connected by frequent Public Transport system.
The Residential Annamalai University was founded by Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, in the year 1929. It is about 3 kms from the town. Apart from Medicine and Engineering Courses the university has special attention to Tamil Literature and Traditional Carnatic music courses. The University is under the administration of Tamil Nadu Government at present.
Temple for Ayyappan was built by the Annamalai University, nearer to the Raja Muthaiah Medical College. It is the replica of the Avyappan temple at Sabarimala.
It is 24 kms from Chidambaram and 6 kms from Sirkazhi. This town is famous for the massive Sri Vaithyanatheeswarar Temple complex and also one of the few popular centers for Naadi Jyothisham [ a form of Astrology-Palm leaf]. The legend says that the presiding deity treated and cured the soldiers of Lord Subramnya in the battle against a demon. The people believe that they are relieved of evil effects by worshipping the lord here. A dip in the temple tank called Siddhamritham and worshipping the God is believed to cure all diseases too.
It is about 30 kms from Pondichery town. Large extent of Fossils protected area is made as the first Fossil-Wood Park. There is a popular temple of Vakkara Kali here. Vakkarasura, a demon was killed by Goddess with the blessings of Lord Chandrasekarar, hence she is called Vakkara Kali. Every Full moon day, the temple attracts thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the neighbouring districts too.
It is 4 kms from Nagapattinam. Hazrat Meera Sultan Syed Shahabdul Hameed, popularly called as Hazrath Mian, an Islamic saint was made to rest here. The tomb believed to be more than 500 years old and the dome is capped with Gold and it has Five minarets too. The holy tanks is called as peer kulam. People from all religious faith visit this dargah for fulfillment.
It is 50 kms from Chidambaram. It is a municipal town and Taluk Head Quarters, located on the banks of Manimutharu river, in Cuddalore District. Vriddhachalam or Big Mountain was called as Thirumudhukundram in the ancient times. There is a popular Vridhagiriswarar Temple dedicate to Lord Siva.
It is 30 kms from Chidambaram. Buvaraha Perumal Temple, one of the popular vaishnavaite Temple of the state. A Swayam Vyakta Deity [self created] of Saligramam Stone representing Varaha Avataram, is located here. The temple was built by Naikers of Vijayanagaram. The front Mandapam is called Purushasukra mandapam. The exotic Mandapam sculptured like a chariot ridden by Horses and Elephants speaks of its architectural excellence.
50 Kms from Chidambaram. This temple was built by Rajendra Chola – I [also called as Gangai kondan] is considered to be the equal of Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar temple or Big Temple. A big Nandi made of brick and Mortar, a Lion Head well with steps leading down to the water level, majestic Dwarapalakas [entrance guards] are the other special features of this temple.
It is is an extension of Eastern Ghats, located 150 kms from Chidambaram, at an altitude ranging between 300 to 1100 mts above sea level. It is spread over 600 sq.km in the Vizhupuram District. Beautiful botanical garden, waterfalls and trekking opportunity are the special features of this hill. A summer festival is also held every year in the month of May.
It is 37 kms from Chidambaram. Popular Spiritual center on the Cuddalore – Kumbakonam, Cuddalore – Vridhachalam route. Sathya Gnana Sabha was established by Saivaite saint called Ramalinga Swamigal or Vallalar. Thai poosam [Jan-Feb] is the most popular festival of Vadalur Sathyagnana Sabha. Only on this day, all the screens that remain closed year long, is open to public to have darshan of the Eternal Lamp [Jyothi] believed to have been lit by Vallalar himself. Hymns written by him on Saiva Siddhantha philosophy are compiled into several volumes in the name of Thiruvarutpa.
It is called as Poompuhar or Puhar. Puhar in tamil means the ‘estuary’ of river. Poompuhar is located close to the spot where the river Cauveri flows out into the sea in Nagapattinam District. This ancient port city earlier called as Kaveri poompattinam, served as the Capital of early Chola rulers. Original town was destroyed by sea and submerged presumably in 500 AD, and was rebuilt after that. Emperors like Sembiyan, Muchugundan, Manuneethi and Karikala of Chola Dynasty added glory to Poompuhar. Submerged wharves and lengths of pier walls have been excavated in recent times. 7 tired structure called Silapathigaram Art Gallery focusing on Sangam literature are the two important landmarks of this town. Silapathigaram and Manimeklai the sangam literatures speaks of the greatness of this port city of Poompuhar.
It was earlier called as Tranquebar. This was Danish settlement of the yester years. The remains of the Dansborg Fort built by Ore Gedde, a commander of the Royal Dutch Navy in the 17th Century can be seen here. The antiquities of the colonial period and Danish settlements like porcelain ware, Danish manuscripts, glass objects, Chinese tea jars, decorated terracotta objects, figurines, lamps, stones, sculptures, swords, daggers, spears, sudai (stucco) figurines and wooden objects, a whale skeleton and small cannon balls are exhibited in the Museum here.
It is a Fort on three Hillocks at an altitude of 800 ft . It is 132 kms from Chidambaram and 25 kms from Tindivanam on Tindivanam –Tiruvannamalai Road. Maratha king Chatrapathi Sivaji ranked it as the "most impregnable fortress in India”. This fort was built by Ananda Kone, Chief of the Local Shepherd community. Kurumbars, Cholas, Nayaks, Marathas, Mugals and British followed them. Venkataramana Temple, Kalyan Mahal, Horse stables, Granary, Mosque and Prisoner's Cell may not be in the same shape as before, but it speaks of the richness of the past. Rajagiri and Krishnagiri are two important fortifications located here and they are popular picnic spots. The Fort is open for visitors as per table below:
This is an abode of Lord Murugan on the Hillock, 85 kms from Chidambaram and 15 kms from Tindivanam. Colourful Panguni Uthiram festival attracts devotees in large numbers from far and near. The temple was built by the Pommayapuram Pontiff. The Mutt is located at the foot hills which takes care of the operation and administration of the temple.
It is about 30 kms from Chidambaram via Vadalur. Large deposit of Leco [Coal] mooted the Idea of Coal mining and one of the biggest power Plant of its kind. Neyveli is called as Coal and Power Town. Apart from this feature, the town is famous for Fertilizers, Ceramic Wares and a number of Coal bye products. All the road users will have to pass through this town en route to Southern Districts Towns.
Astrology, believed by all people, depends on the Planetary Positions and each planet has a God incarnated for the same. Temples specific to these planetary Gods are found around the Kumbakonam, Thanjavur Districts and towns around them too. They are : Thirunageswaram or Champakaranya – Rahu Sthalam; Suriyanar Koil - Sun God temple; Thingalur – Chandran or Moon; Alangudi - Guru or Jupiter.; Thirunallar - Saneeswarar or Saturn; Vaitheeswaran Koil – Angaragan or Mars; Tiruvengadu – Budhan or Mercury; Keezha perumpallam - Lord Kethu; Kanjanur – Sukran or Venus. Millions of Pilgrims visit these temple regularly, more specifically during planetary transition period to pray to the God and get away from all evil effects to ensure peace and prosperity.
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