|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.
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
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
The town of Chidambaram is situated in the east-central part of Tamil Nadu
state of southeastern India extending 11.24°N and 79.44°E. The
town is in the Coleroon River Valley on the Madras-Thanjavur road and rail
The climate of Chidambaram is tropical with mercury touching up to 37°C
in the summers and around 20°C in the winters.
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).
- The Nataraja Temple
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.
The Natyanjali festival, which brings all the prominent dancers of India,
together on the same platform, opens on the auspicious occasion of
Mahasivaratri, in the month of February. It is performed at the 'Prakara' of
the temple, and the dancers, full of intense bliss and devotion, with their
evocative abhinaya, offer their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja.
How to get
Nearest Airport is Trichy.
It is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Chennai.
It is also connected with all major towns.