Tamil Nadu is a land of culture, heritage, art and history. Being a hub of plenty of temples, cultural centres, museums and other tourist attractions that take you through the soul of the state, Tamil Nadu is truly a travellers' paradise.
Talking about history and cultural, there are many temples in the state that take you back in time to the rich and glorious past of the place, from where these tales and temples evolved. Chidambaram is one of the holy cities of Tamil Nadu that has many attractions to flaunt.
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, also known as Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar Temple, is one of the famous Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. The temple is the most important pilgrimage centre for Saivites, and is located around 78km to the South of Pondicherry.
The temple has been renovated several times by the rulers of the place after its conception, to the complete structure we see today. Chidambaram is one of the five holy temples of Lord Shiva, the other four being in Trichy, kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai and Kalahasti.
Let us get to know more about this amazing temple in Chidambaram.
The Chidambaram Temple complex is spread across 50 acres of land, and is located in the heart of Chidambaram city. It is also one of the rare temples where deities of Saivite and Vaishnavite beliefs are enshrined in the same temple.
The temple has 9 gateways, out of which 4 have 7 levels and have tall pagodas facing the South, North, East and West. The five halls in the temple are Chit sabhai, Kanaka sabhai, Nritya sabhai, Raja sabhai and Deva sabhai.
The West Tower of the temple was the tower that was built first, and is also the smallest among the 4 major temple towers. Though it is believed to have been constructed around 1150AD, there is no clear evidences for the same.
The Eastern Gopuram
Seen is the image of the intricate carvings of the Eastern Gopuram of the temple. One of the peculiarities of this tower is that it has all the 108 poses of the Indian classical dance form Bharatnatyam carved on it. Each of the temple gopurams has 50 stone sculptures.
PC: Serge Duchemin
There are several temple tanks within the temple complex. These tanks include Sivaganga, Paramanandha Koobham, Kuyya theertham, Pulimadu, Vyagrapadha theertham, Anandha theertham, Nagaseri tank, Brahma theertham and Thiruparkadal.
Sivaganga is one of the important temple tanks of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. It is located at the third corridor of the temple, opposite to the shrine of Sivagami.
PC: Karthik Easvur
The temple houses several shrines other than that of Lord Shiva. They are that of the 63 'nayanars' of Lord Shiva known as 'Arubaththu moovar', shrine of Sivagami, Ganesha and Lord Murugan.
One of the Pancha Bhootha Sthalam
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is among the five holiest shrines of Lord Shiva, collectively known as the Pancha Bhootha Sthalam, each of the temple representing the manifestation of the five elements of nature - land, water, sky, fire and air.
The Natyanjali festival is one of the most important festivals of Chidambaram Temple. Celebrated in February, the festival sees Bharatnatyam dancers from all over the country coming and performing dance offering to Nataraja.
The Temple Car
The Chidambaram Temple car is among the most beautiful temple cars in all of the temples in Tamil Nadu. This is the temple car in which the Lord descends twice a year, carried by thousands of devotees during the festivals of the temple.