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Chidambaram - The City Of The Nataraja


Chidambaram is a temple town in the district of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu known for its surreal setting, ancient Dravidian architecture and imposing Gopurams. With the sound of temple bells in the early morning, as you wake up to a hot cup of the finest filter coffee, Chidambaram stands for everything a traveller would expect from a quintessential Tamil Nadu temple town.

Many things come to mind when one thinks of this town. But the first would be the imposing Chidambaram Natarajar Temple that the town is famous for. The principal deity worshipped in the temple is Lord Shiva, making the town a preferred destination for Shaivites.

The temple is one of 5 Shiva temples scattered across Tamil Nadu, each associated with one of the 5 elements (namely air, water, earth, fire and wind, according to the Hindu concept of the panchabootha).

Tourist Places In And Around Chidambaram

The other temples are Kalahasti Nathar Temple associated with the wind, Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara associated with fire, Kanchi Ekambareswara Temple associated with earth and Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara Temple associated with water.

The temple may very well be the only Shiva temple in which the deity is worshipped in the form of Nataraja, the lord of dance. It is interesting to note that everywhere else you find the Lord worshipped as the Shivalinga. It may also be the only major temple where both Lord Shiva and Mahavishnu are worshipped side by side.

Lord Vishnu as Lord Govindaraja Perumal is worshipped in the very same temple complex as Lord Shiva, making the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple a place of pilgrimage for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Nowhere else in the world is one able to worship both deities from the same spot.

A Town Of Temples And Educational Institutions

Chidambaram is home to not only the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple, but numerous other temples. Built in different eras and by different dynasties, these temples stand for the architectural excellence of a bygone time. Many of these temples have gone several revisions and renovations as in the case with the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple.

It is also home to the Annamalai University, one of the premier universities in the country, with hundreds of colleges under its wing. The town is also renowned for its ornament-making industry. The art of fashioning gold and silver ornaments is passed on from generation to generation.

Not far from this quaint temple town is a behemoth of industry–namely the industrial complex of Neyveli. This industrial complex, with its lignite mines and thermal power plants, is situated just 30 km off Chidambaram.

Chidambaram Weather

Chidambaram is one place you can experience to the fullest at any time of the year, without the climate being a hassle. Be it summer or be it winter, the feel Chidambaram gives to the visitor remains the same. It would be advisable to visit when the temperature is milder though.

How To Reach Chidambaram

Chidambaram is well connected to the rest of Tamil Nadu with an excellent network of roads. Its proximity to Chennai makes it feasible for those who get off at the Chennai International Airport to travel to the place.

Chidambaram also offers a plethora of shopping options, when it comes to indigenous handicrafts that the city is famous for. You come here to buy a piece of history, a piece of heritage that can be found nowhere else in the world but here. And in doing so, you become part of that culture. You do not shop for souvenirs in Chidambaram; instead you hunt for irreplaceable collections in terms of art.

Chidambaram is Famous for

Chidambaram Weather

Best Season / Best Time to Visit Chidambaram

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How to Reach Chidambaram

  • By Road
    Chidambaram enjoys excellent connectivity through road. The best route to Chidambaram would be the Chennai-Pondicherry route via the East Coast Road. This would be feasible for those who want to check out Pondicherry as well on the way to Chidambaram. Tamil Nadu state transport and private agencies run regular services to Chidambaram from all major towns and cities of Tamil Nadu.
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  • By Train
    Traveling to Chidambaram by train is the cheaper and more feasible option for those who are from within the country. The town of Chidambaram lies in the middle of the Trichy- Chennai rail route. Being connected to both major cities of Trichy and Chennai, it is subsequently connected to every major city in the country through this rail network.
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  • By Air
    The airport situated closest to the town of Chidambaram is at Chennai. The Chennai International Airport is at a distance of about 250 kilometers from the town. It is a feasible choice for people living outside India and at far off places in the country to take a flight to Chennai. Those who arrive by air can hire a taxi from the airport to reach Chidambaram.
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