CHIDAMBARAM | NATARAJA TEMPLE | PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO CHIDAMBARAM
Heritage | Pilgrimage
Ideal Trip Duration: 2 Full Days
Nearest City to Chidambaram: Tiruchirappalli (168 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Chidambaram: July & October to March
Peak Season: July & December to January
At a distance of 43 km Cuddalore, 43 km Mayiladuthurai, 66 km from Pondicherry, 85 km from Nagapattinam, 189 km from Kanchipuram, 217 km from Chennai, 303 km from Madurai and 173 km from Trichy, Chidambaram is a pilgrimage town in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Well known for Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is one of the most celebrated shrines in South India and among the most popular places of pilgrimage in Tamilnadu.
Also known as Thillai, Chidambaram is one of the famous places to visit near Trichy. Chidambaram Temple has great religious as well as historic and cultural significance. This is one of the Panchabhoota Stalas signifying the five elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram) and space (Chidambaram). It is one of the must visit places as part of Chidambaram tour packages.
The name Chidambaram comes from the Tamil word Chitrambalam which means the small hall or stage of wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of thillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained perfection with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.
The town of Chidambaram has been ruled by many kingdoms over the centuries, most notably the Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, Vijaynagar Kingdom, the Marathas, and the British. The town is known for the Thillai Nataraja Temple and the annual chariot festival held in the month of April. Chidambaram Nataraja Temple was built during the 11th century and is one of the most celebrated Shaivite Temples in South India. Lord Nataraja is the family deity of Vikrama Chola (1128 CE) and his successors. The golden hall of dance was built and covered with gold plates by Jatavarman Sundra Pandya.
Apart from Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu as Lord Govindaraja Perumal is also worshipped in the Nataraja Temple complex. Thillai Kaali Amman Temple, Pichavaram, Sattanathar Temple, Bhuvanagiri, Parangipettai, Annamalai University, Kollidam (river) and Poompuhar are the other places to visit in Chidambaram.
Brahmotsavam, Ani Thirumanjanam, Thai Poosam and Arudra Dharshan are some of the Chidambaram temple festivals that attract large crowds from far and nearby places. Natyanjali Dance Festival is a major festival held in the month of February. Many eminent dancers give their performances during this festival.
The nearest airport to Chidambaram is at Chennai, about 212 km away. Chidambaram is located on the Madras-Trichy main line of the Southern Railway. It is connected with Trichy, Chennai, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Bangalore, Villupuram, Mayiladuturai, Thanjavur and Tirupati. Chidambaram is well connected by bus with Chennai, Trichy, Rameshwaram, Pondicherry, Madurai, Bangalore and Villupuram.
Best time to visit Chidambaram is July & October to March while the peak season is July & December to February. Usually it takes two full days to visit Chidambaram.
Chidambaram Temple Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM
Aardharaa Dharsana Festival (Dec),
Maha Sivaratri (Feb/Mar)