Chidambaram Details

Origin of the name:

                        Chidambaram is also known as Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of Thillai(Excecaria agallecha)shrubs. It is an important pilgrim centre and a holy place for Saivaites as the famous Nataraja Temple is located here.

Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique not only it is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam, but also it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts


As of 2001 India  Chidambaram had a population of 58,968.


The climate of Chidambaram is tropical with temperature of around 37°C in the summers and around 20°C in the winters





            Chidambaram is home to the Annamalai University. It is home to reputed medical and nursing school  

Schools in Chidambaram:

Government Nandanar Boys and Girls Higher secondary school. It is one of oldest education school, built by Swami Sahajananda Avargal.

Ramaswami Chettiar Town High School is a famous school opened in year 1913.

Pachaiyappa Higher Secondary school maintained by Pachaiyappa charities

There are other Privately run schools as well.


Movie Theatres:


Sea level:  5.97 metres above sea level

K.M from Chennai:Its 250 Km


All and towering temples mark the landscape of Tamil Nadu. They remain as preserves of cultural heritage and protectors and promoters of inner urge of people for ethereal bliss and blessings of the Almighty. Not only that the temples inspired promotion of art and culture, and, infact, human life revolved around these centers of worship in ancient period. Chidambaram is one such sacred place with Lord Nataraja temple.

“Salutation to Shiva whose glory

Is immense, who resembles Sky

In Clearness, to whom are attributed

The theme of all creations-

The preservation and destruction of the Universe”.

So sings a saint – Patriot of India in a hymn dedicated to the Divine Dancer. Here in Chidambaram, one of the holy cities in Tamil Nadu, Lord Nataraja, otherwise known as Lord Siva, the benign and the fiery dancer, expounds the myth and mythology of Hinduism and the rhythm of human life through His Cosmic Dance.

The Nataraja Temple built during the eleventh century is the most celebrated of the south India saivite Temple. Lord Nataraja is the family deity of Vikrama Chola(1128) and his successors. He spent the bulk of his revenue for construction of the walls and addition of the structure of the temple and made sumptuous gifts in gold to the structure. Chidambaram rose in popularity due to its proximity to Gangaikonda cholarapuram built and made as the capital of the imperial Cholas by Rajendra Chola. Inscriptions and Tamil literature like Raja RajaChola Ula and Takkayagappari give detailed accounts of the temple and the munificent contribution of the Chola kings in gold to wrap the sanctum sanction and the famous hall. The temple located in the middle of the municipal town sprawls in an area of 40 acres. Inside the walls are four Gopurams(Towers) embellished with numerous sculptures. They represent various religious scenes and parables. The East Gopuram , being the main entrance is the oldest and the West Gopuram is more attractive and outstanding. The tallest is 42.4 meters above sea level and 140 feet above the ground level. The light atop the gopurams here and the Gopurams are visible from the sea and they are the landmarks for the marines. The inner enclosure is the most sacred and has four of five Sabahs. The Nrithya Sabha, the Hall of Dance is the most beautiful and interesting part of the temple. The Sivakami temple, the sivagami tank and the Hall of thousand pillars are important features of temple.

The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of five elements and is known as Akasa Lingam. The great three Tamil saints Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar have visited the temple and their hymns praise the temple and Divine Dancer, Lord Nataraja.

The Nataraja image in its various forms really holds the devotee as well the tourist in ecstasy. Rodin, the modern sculptor of international repute highly praised the forum and art and the concept of Divine Dance of Lord Nataraja



The origins of the vast Nataraja temple complex at Chidambaram are buried in antiquity. Literature talks of a tradition of Shiva (Nataraja) worship in existence even as early as the Sangam period (very early on in the Christian era).

The Tamil Saivite Saints of the 2nd half of the 1st millennium CE have sung its fame when an established worship tradition was in place.  Each of the four most revered Saivite Saints (Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavacakar) has worshipped at Chidambaram, and the bulk of Manikkavacakar's work is in praise of Shiva at Chidambaram. Accordingly, their images are placed in the temple entrances corresponding to their points of entry into the temple. (Sambandar - South, Appar - West, Sundarar - North and Manikkavacakar - East).

The Alwar Poems of the Naalayira Divya Prabandam sing the glory of Vishnu, whose image is also housed in this temple, and his shrine is referred to as 'Tiruchitrakootam'.

Aadi Sankara is said to have presented a Spatika Lingam which is still under worship in this temple.

The later Chola Kings (Aditya I and Parantaka I) adorned the roof of the shrine with gold (circa 10th century CE), and the other Chola Kings treated Nataraja as their guardian deity and made several endowments to the temple and expanded and fortified the structure as temple inscriptions (seen even today) testify.

Sekkizhaar's Periya Puranam, describing poetically the life of the Saivite Saints (63 in number) was composed in the 1000 pillared hall, and was expounded by the author himself in the presence of the Chola emperor Kulottunga II, who had comissioned the work, amidts great festivity and fanfare.

The Pandya Kings who followed them, and the later




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