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Chidambara Natarajar Temple

Natarajar, Chidambaram Temple Located in the temple town of Chidambaram, 78 km south of Pondicherry and 60 km north of Karaikal in Cuddalore District, Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). Akasa Lingam is embodiment of Shiva as the "formless Space". Shiva is worshipped in the "formless form" of the Chidambara Rahasyam.

The historic temple has Lord Nataraja (Shiva) and Lord Govindaraja Perumal as the presiding dieties. Lord Shiva is depicted in the famous Ananda Tandava or celestial dancing posture. The temple's eastern gopuram or pagoda has all the 108 postures (karnams) of Bharathanatyam sculpted on it.

The temple and the Lord were immortalized in the verses of four poet Saints - Thirugnana Sambanthar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, and Manikkavasagar. Thirunavukkarasar songs are called Thevaram and are sung in the Garbha Graha (Sanctum Sanctorum) of Nataraja.

The temple is managed by the Chidambaram Dikshitar (Deekshitars, the Thillai Three Thousand) - a class of brahmins, who, according to legends, were brought here from Mt. Kailasa by Saint Patanjali specifically for the performance of daily rituals and maintenance of the Chidambaram temple.

History of Chidambaram Temple

The origins of this temple is not known. The sangam literature refers to the Chola rulers as great devotees of Nataraja and made several endowments to the temple. This tradition was followed by the Pandyas and the Vijayanagar rulers. The various architectural styles seen in the temple - Chola, Pandya, Pallava, Vijayanagara, and Chera - are testimony to the continual patronage to the temple by different dynasties.

How to get to Chidambaram?

Chidambaram is in Cuddalore district, 40 km from Pondicherry. It is 240 km south of Chennai, well connected by train and bus routes.

Nearest Airport : The nearest airports are in Tiruchirapalli (195 km) and Chennai (245 km).

Nearest Railhead : Chidambaram. It lies on the Madras-Tiruchirapalli main line of the Southern Railway. It is connected with Tiruchirapalli, Madras, Madurai (335 km), Rameshwaram (575 km), Bangalore (340 km), and Tirupati (290 km).

By Road: Bus services are frequently available from various places in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Pondicherry states to Chidambaram. There are non-stop bus services and express bus services to major cities like Chennai.

Local Transport: Taxis and auto rickshaws without meter are available for local transportation. Buses and cycle rickshaws are also available here.

View Nataraja Temple in a larger map

Temple timings & Pooja Kaalams

There are 6 poojas in a day:
  1. 7.00 a.m. The day begins with the Lord's footwear (padukas) being brought from the Palliyarai (or bedroom) to the sanctum sanctorum.
  2. Around 9.30 a.m.
  3. Around 12.00 noon.
  4. Around 6.00 p.m.
  5. 8.00 p.m.
  6. 10.00 p.m. In this last pooja, the Arthajaama pooja, the Lord's footwear is taken back to the bedroom.
Note: The temple is closed between 12.00 noon to 4.30 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m.

Places to Stay

Hotels In Chidambaram :
  1. HOTEL TAMILNADU (Tamilnadu Tourism)
    19, Railway Feeder Road, Chidambaram

    Opposite to Bus Stand, Chidambaram

    East Car Street, Chidambaram

Main Utsavams (Festivals) of the Temple

A year in the life of men is said to be a single day for the Gods. Therefore, as six poojas are performed in a day, six festivals are celebrated in a year;
  1. Marghazhi Thiruvaadhirai (in December - January ) indicating the first pooja. This is a 10 day festival that concludes with the Arudra Dharisanam.
  2. The fourteenth day after the new moon ( chaturdasi) of the month of Masi ( February - March) indicating the second pooja.
  3. The Chittirai Thiruvonam ( in April- May), indicating the third pooja or uchi kaalam.
  4. The Uthiram of Aani (June- July) also called the Aani Thirumanjanam indicating the evening or the fourth pooja.
  5. The chaturdasi of Aavani (August-September) indicating the fifth pooja.
  6. The chaturdasi of the month of Puratasi ( September - October) indicating the sixth pooja or Arthajama.
Of these the Marghazhi Thiruvaadhirai ( in December-January) and the Aani Thirumanjanam ( in June-July ) are the most important and are aptly called the Bhrammotsavams.

Other temples in Chidambaram

  • The Sivakami Amman Temple
    The outermost prakaram is home to the grand Sivakami Amman temple. The vast Sivakami Amman shrine is a temple in its own right. It houses the Sivaganga tank and the 1000 pillared hall or the Raja Sabha, where Nataraja is brought during two annual festivals.

  • Thillai Kaali Amman Temple, Chidambaram
    The northern end of the sacred city has Thillaikaliamman temple, another of the medieval architectural marvel and greatly flocked pilgrim spots. Kopperunjingan, who ruled between 1229 AD and 1278 AD, built the temple.

Other temples Near Chidambaram

  • Sirkazhi Temple
  • Vaitheeswaran Koil

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