I have very sweet memories of visiting a small beautiful town of Chidambaram, situated in the State of Tamilnadu in India, during my last visit to India during December 2009. This small town is full of natural beauty and attracts thousands of visitors every year from all over India and even from abroad. Our entire family visited this lovely town and I am going to briefly share this experience with all my AC friends and readers in this article.
The town of Chidambaram is spread in around 20 square kilometers area and is situated at the distance of around 36 miles from the city of Pondicherry. The total population of this beautiful town is around 60,000. It is very convenient to reach this lovely town in hired car or taxi or the State Transport buses from most of the major cities of South India. We reached this town of Chidambaram from the city of Pondicherry in hired car. The journey took around one hour only as the condition of roads was really good. Chidambaram is a famous Hindu pilgrimage place as the famous Nataraja Temple of Lord Shiva is situated in this town. This famous temple was built by the Chaula King Chaularaj in the year 997 AD. Though, its construction was started in the year 927 AD. It took around 70 years to complete it. This is the largest Lord Shiva temple in the South India and also the most ancient one. This temple is situated in the area of around 13 hectors. There are four Gopurams (gates) provided in all the four directions of the temple for the entrance of the tourists. These Gopurams are around 150 feet high. These Gopurams are engraved with the most typical sculptures of Lord Shiva like sitting on the ground, performing his most famous Tandav dance etc. The large central hall of the temple was used as the dancing hall in the ancient times. This hall has 1,000 pillars and is designed in the form of a beautiful horse cart. The beautiful Lord Shiva statue is placed inside this unique temple. This is the only temple of Lord Shiva in the world having the Statue of Lord Shiva instead of Lingam as found in all other Lord Shiva temples. The big music and dancing programs are held here at the temple in the evenings on all Fridays. The tourists can really enjoy the classical dance and music of South India in these programs.
There are many interesting excursions available near this town of Chidambaram. The Vadhiswaram Coil temple, situated at the distance of around 20 miles from Chidambaram, is visited by the tourists to cure themselves from any type of diseases through prayers. The temple of Shreemushnam, situated at the distance of around 25 miles from the city of Chidambaram, is famous for its most artistic sculptures pertaining to Pala culture. The statue of Lord Nataraj placed at this temple is seen sitting on Nandi. Nandi is considered the vehicle of Lord Shiva as per Hindu religion. There are no luxury hotels available at this small town of Chidambaram. However, some small guest houses are available for the visitors. Such guest houses only provide very basic facilities at the rates of around Rs.600 ($13) per day for a double room. It would be better to carry your own food and drinking water supply with you during your visit to this small town of Chidambaram. It is really not necessary to have night halt here as most of the sightseeing places can be easily covered in one day at this holy town of Chidambaram.
I am confident that this article shall encourage many of my AC friends and readers to visit this ancient and unique temple of Lord Shiva at the town of Chidambaram. If any of my readers have any questions or doubts on this, all are free to contact me.