Hindu Pilgrimage
 
Chidambaram

The island of Rameswaram on the Gulf of Mannar is one of the main fishing villages in Tamil Nadu. More importantly, it is a major pilgrimage centre for pious Hindus who worship Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu known respectively as Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

Most visitors come to see the impressive Rameswaram Temple, famous the world over for its lengthy and ornate corridors, representing fine architectural masterpieces. Rameswaram also boasts of fabulous beaches edging its coral reef waters abundant with exotic marine life, making it a haven for adventure seekers.

The temple town of Chidambaram, 58 km south of Pondicherry greets the visitors, with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja - Lord Shiva in the enthralling form of a Cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples, where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Chidambaram is also called Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of Thillai shrubs. It is one of the five Shaivite mukti sthalams, the other four being Kalahasti, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvanaikaval. A unique feature of Chidambaram is that a person of any race or religion can visit the shrine and pray

Chidambaram History

Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, 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 fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.

The golden hall of dance was built and covered with gold plates by Jatavarman Sundra Pandya (ad 1251-1272). He was very proud of his achievement, and as such assumed the title of Hemchandandana Raja (literally the king who covered the temple with gold).

How to Reach

Nearest Airport is Trichy.
It is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Chennai.
It is also connected with all major towns.

Sights to Visit

The Natraj Temple

The 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. The Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. 108 Bharatha Natyam dance gestures can be seen on the Eatern towers as well as Western tower. The Northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 metres. The Sivakamiamman temple, the Sivaganga tank, the thousand pillar hall are other important features of the temple.

Kali Temple

The Thillaikaliamman temple is on the northern end of the town. It was built by Kopperunjingan, who ruled between 1229 AD and 1278 AD.

Viadanatheeswarar Temple

About 25km. south of Chidambaram, Vaitheeswarankoil is well known for its Viadanatheeswarar Temple, dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. People come bathe in the tank waters in the belief that illnesses will be cured.

 
 
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