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Ideal Trip Duration: 2 Full Days

Base Station: Chidambaram

Nearest City to Chidambaram: Tiruchirappalli (168 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Chidambaram: July & October to March

Peak Season: July & December to February

State: Tamil Nadu | District: Cuddalore

Chidambaram Weather: Maximum: 37°C
Minimum: Below 20°C

At a distance of 217 km from Chennai, 189 km from Kanchipuram, 43 km Cuddalore, 66 km from Pondicherry, 43 km Mayiladuthurai, 85 km from Nagapattinam, 303 km from Madurai and 173 km from Trichy, Chidambaram is a pilgrimage town in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Well known for Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is one of the most celebrated shrines in South India and also one of the famous Tamilnadu places to visit.

Chidambaram is also known as Thillai. 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.

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).

Lord Vishnu as Lord Govindaraja Perumal is worshipped in the same temple complex. Thillai Kaali Amman Temple, Pichavaram, Sattanathar Temple, Bhuvanagiri, Parangipettai, Annamalai University, Kollidam (river) and Poompuhar are the other attractions in and around 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

OTHER INFO
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 04144
Languages Spoken: Tamil, Telugu, Malaylam, English & French
Major Festivals: Aani Thirumanjana Festival (July),
Aardharaa Dharsana Festival (Dec),
Maha Sivaratri (Feb/Mar)
Notes/Tips:
None

HOW TO REACH CHIDAMBARAM


By Air

Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli - Tiruchirapalli Airport (168 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Chidambaram Railway Station (0 Kms)
Villupuram Railway Station (65 Kms)
Mayiladuthurai Railway Station (41 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Chidambaram Central Bus Station (0 Kms)

11 PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN CHIDAMBARAM


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2 Kms from Chidambaram Bus Station and less than 1 Km from Chidambaram Railway Station, Nataraja Temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu.

The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique as it one of Panchabootha sthala in India - and it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary lingam.

The Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. 108 Bharathanatyam dance gestures can be seen on the eastern tower as well as on the western tower. The northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 meters.

Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM


Lake & Backwaters

At a distance of 16 kms from Chidambaram & 217 Kms from Chennai, Pichavaram is among the most exquisite places of tourist interest and a scenic spot.

The backwaters are interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon River system and offer abundant scope for water sports such as parasailing, rowing and canoeing. The Pichavaram forests not only offer scenic waterscape and backwater cruises but combines the mangrove forests. These are trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water.

The mangroves of Pichavaram are considered among the healthiest mangrove forests in the world. Pichavaram consists of a number of small islands interspersing a vast expanse of water and covered with green trees. The area is about 2800 acres and is separated from the sea by sand bars.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 17 km from Mayiladuthurai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 45 kms from Karaikal, 54 km from Kumbakonam and 94 km from Thanjavur, Vaitheeswaran Koil is town in Nagapattinam district which is famous for the Vaidyanatha Swamy Temple. The temple is also known as Pullirukkuvelur.

Vaidyanatha Swamy and Thaiyalnayaki are the presiding deities of this temple. The Selva Muthukumara Swamy shrine here is also considered to be of important. There are Shiva lingas said to have been worshipped by Rama, Jatayu, Skanda, Surya and Angaraka. It is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed by Ravana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita at this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam.

It is one of the Navagraha temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). According to legend, Planet Mars was once afflicted with leprosy and was cured by Vaidyanatha .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 42 km Chidambaram, 76 km from Thanjavur, 110 km from Trichy & 268 km from Chennai, Sri Brihadeeswara Temple is situated at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital of Cholas. It was built by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century. It occupies an important place in the history of India as the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 CE for about 250 years. This temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

Rajendra Chola I has established this temple after his great victories in Northern India. He was originally called Madurantakan and assumed the title of Rajendra during his coronation and continued to rule along with his father Rajaraja-I for a while. Gangai Konda Cholapuram is regarded as the reproduction of Brihadisvara Temple that was built by Rajaraja Chola, father of Rajendra Chola. The temple is renowned for .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 37 km from Kumbakonam, 37 km from Karaikal and 42 km from Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai is a town and headquarters of the Mayiladuthurai Taluk in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Mayiladuthurai is known for the Mayuranatha Swamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one among the six temples which are compared as equivalent to the temple in Varanasi. The other 5 Shivasthalams are Tiruvenkaadu, Chaayaavanam, Tiruvaiyaru, Tiruvanchiam and Tiruvidaimarudur.

This temple was reconstructed with stone in 10th century during the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi. However, the renovations from the 19th century have destroyed some of the older structures and the inscriptions. Some of the stone sculptures of Vinayakar, Natarajar, Dakshimamurthy, Lingodbhavar, Brahma, Ganga Visarjanamurthi, Durga and Bhikshatanar from the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi have been well preserved.

The main diety is in the form of lingam .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 23 km from Karaikal, 23 km from Mayiladuthurai, 44 km from Chidambaram and 57 km from Kumbakonam, Thirukkadaiyur is a popular temple town located on the east coast of Tamil Nadu in the Nagapattinam district. The Amritaghateswarar - Abirami Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most famous temple in Thirukkadaiyur.

The presiding deity of this temple is Sri Amirthalingeswara and his consort is Sri Abirami. Thirukkadaiyur is one of the 8 Veera Sthalas, where Yama was clashed with Lord Shiva. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva protected Markandeya, son of Mrikandu, from Yama. The scar caused by the Yama's rope is visible on the Linga during abisheka times.

The temple was built by Chola kings in 11th century in the traditional Chola architectural style. Spread over 11 acres, the temple has great architecture and has five enclosures, huge towers and spacious mandapas. Based on the inscriptions .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2 Kms from Chidambaram Bus Station and 1.5 Kms from Chidambaram Railway Station, the Thillai Kaliamman temple is situated in northern end of the town. It was built by Chola King Kopperunjingan who ruled between 1229 AD and 1278 AD.

Once when Shiva and Shakti competed with each other in dancing, Shiva struck a fabulous pose, lifting his leg high. Shakti could not match that pose because of modesty, and so lost the contest. By the rules of the contest, the loser had to leave Thillai and reside outside. So Shakti moved to a location at the edge of the kshetra and a Kali Temple came up there. Thillai Kali is credited with curative powers and showers health and prosperity on those who worship her. The black Goddess Kali has a diamond on her forehead.

Annual Festivals are celebrated in the month of Vaigasi and Navarathiri festival is celebrated in the month of Purattasi.

Timings: 6 AM - 12:30 PM & 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 20 Kms from Chidambaram, 45 kms from Karaikal and 110 Kms from Thanjavur (located in Nagapattinam district), the Bhramapureeswarar temple in Sirkazhi is build by the Chola kings of Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and III in 10th Century.

The Bhramapureeswarar is a vast temple complex with 3 different Shiva Shrines known as Bhramapureeswarar shrine, Thoniappar Shrine and Sattainathar/Vatukanathar Shrine. The Bhramapureeswarar shrine is housed in the lower level. The second level houses Periyanakar with Periyanayaki on a 'Thoni'(boat), hence the name Thoniappar (The boat symbolizes that Thoniappar helps people cross their sea of birth). The Thoniappar shrine on a mound west of the central shrine, and the Sattainathar shrine in the second floor reached from the southern prakaram of the Thoniappar shrine by a flight of steps.

The famous Thirumulaippal Utsav is held every year during Chithirai month.

Open from 6 AM - 9 PM.


Beach

At a distance of 40 Kms from Chidambaram, 40 km from Karaikal, 90 Kms from Thanjavur & 257 Kms from Chennai, Poompuhar was once the biggest port on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, and was as its peak of glory under the earlier Chola kings.

The River Kaveri is merging with the sea here. It was known as puhar due to the exquisite beauty of the port town, and it later came to be called Poompuhar. Silappathikaram and Manimekalai, the tamil epics, bring out the greatness of the city in some of the poems in Sangam literature.

Danish Fort that was built as early as 1620 A.D is the masterpiece of the Danish architecture in India. The fort is in perfect condition till now and most of the decorations and carvings are still prominent.

A fine beach and calm waters offer good opportunity for sunbathing and swimming.


Museum & Gallery

At a distance of 40 Kms from Chidambaram, the Sillappathikara Art Gallery is situated in Poompuhar town.

The 'Magara Thoranavayil' at the entrance of the Art Gallery at a height of 22.5 feet imparts an imposing and beautiful look to the whole structure. It has been designed on the pattern of Magara Thorana Vayil, found in Suruli Malai Mangala Devi Koil. There is also an anklet shaped tank in the Art-Gallery. On this side of this tank are installed the statues of Kannagi and Madavi.

Scenes from Sillappathikaram, the Epic of the land have been given lively shapes in stones on the walls of the Gallery. These sculptures carved by the sculptors of Mamallapuram Art College remain the treasure house of Tamil Culture.

Timings: 8.30 AM to 8.30 PM. Entrance Fee - Adult: Rs 3 & Child: Rs 2.


Hill Station

At a distance of 150 kms from Chidambaram, Kalvarayan Hills are spread over an area of 600 Sq.kms. These hills offer a temperate climate and quiet solitude with an altitude ranging from 315 meters to 1190 meters.

Kallakurichi is the down hill ofKkalvarayan Hills. Vellimalai, which is top hill of the kalvarayan hill, enrooted to Gomugi Dam. There is a botanical garden on the hills. There are two waterfalls here. The Periyar Falls is just 16 kms from Gomugi Dam and 12 kms from Vellimalai and another falls is Megam Falls is 5 kms from Vellimalai. The area is ideal for those interested in trekking. Before going on a trek carry a sleeping bag, drinking water, warm clothes, medicines and any food supplies for an emergency.

A summer festival is also held in the month of May every year. Oct - Dec is the best time to visit this place.

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