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How to Reach Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tamil Nadu

Updated on March 22, 2017
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Travel, especially the pilgrimage are the great pleasure for Sunil Kunnoth. He loves to wander with his spiritual sojourns.

Nataraja Temple Chidambaram (East Tower)
Nataraja Temple Chidambaram (East Tower) | Source
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Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Chola period (880-1279)Temple festival in Chidambaram.Intricate carvings adorn the eastern gopuram Temple tank of the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, Temple festivalCelebration part of the festivalElephant decoration at the entrance steps of the 1000 pillared stage of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple Porch of the Shivaganga tank at the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram,
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Chola period (880-1279)
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Chola period (880-1279) | Source
Source
Temple festival in Chidambaram.
Temple festival in Chidambaram. | Source
Intricate carvings adorn the eastern gopuram
Intricate carvings adorn the eastern gopuram | Source
Temple tank of the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram,
Temple tank of the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, | Source
Temple festival
Temple festival
Source
Celebration part of the festival
Celebration part of the festival | Source
Elephant decoration at the entrance steps of the 1000 pillared stage of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple
Elephant decoration at the entrance steps of the 1000 pillared stage of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple | Source
Porch of the Shivaganga tank at the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram,
Porch of the Shivaganga tank at the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, | Source

My spiritual sojourn through Tamil Nadu, the land of temples touched yet another milestone when I alighted at Chidambaram railway station. The journey began from Trichy at sharp 9.35 am on December 30, 2014. The 158 km long distance was covered in three hours. Why did I miss Chidambaram for a long time? I have no answer, but I am happy that finally I could make it. Late better than never!

Why Chidambaram? The pressing reason was just to visit the Nataraja temple. It is the ‘Kshetra (temple) of Cosmic Knowledge and Space’. ‘Chith’ means knowledge and ‘ambaram’ means space. It is one of the holiest of all Shiva sites. The specialty of the site is that it is the only Shiva temple, where the deity is not represented by a ‘lingam’ but by a spectacular dancing pose of the deity. Further, it is one of the five pancha bhootha (natural elements) sthalas of Shiva in Tamil Nadu.


Nataraja, the Temple Deity

Nataraja is the presiding deity of Chidambaram. It is only here that you can see Shiva represented as a spectacular bronze deity. The blissful posture of Shiva or Nataraja is a delight to eyes. This posture is called Ananda Thandavam or the Dance of Joy. It is a classical Bharatanatyam pose.


The Temple Structure

When we search on the Google, the image of Chidambaram temple we get is small and not impressive. Actually it is gigantic and so spectacular. You need to visit it to believe it. It is the fitting example of Dravidian architecture. The 40-acre complex contains two temples and magnificent gopurams. The tall towers encrusted with sculpted idols, pillared halls, long and wide circumambulation corridors will definitely surprise you. The spectacular artistic display of Chola and Pandava features are sure to make you bewildered. Needless to say, it will take at least one full day to explore and experience the beauty and magnitude of the stunning Nataraja temple.

How to Reach

By Air: The closest Airport is Chennai (235 km)

By Rail: You can easily reach Chidambaram by Train either from Trichy or Chennai Egmore. From Trichy, it takes roughly 3 hours (158 km). The route passes through Tanjavur, Papanasam, Kumbakonam, Mayiladuturai, Vaithisvaran Koil, Sirkazhi. From Chennai, it takes roughly four and half (4 ½) hours and the distance is 244 km.

By Road/Bus: Tamil Nadu state buses make several services to here from all major towns/cities.


Temple Timings: 6 am – 12 noon and 4 – 9 pm


Unique Feature: It is one of the very few temples that has both Shiva and Vishnu shrines. Apart from Nataraja, you can also see Vishnu in his reclining form, resting on the coils of five-headed serpent, Adisesha. Also, it is an apt place for performing dance, music and other arts.


Temple Festivals: Maha Shiva Ratri (Feb/March). Natyanjali Festival (Feb.) (during this festival, classical dancers gather here to give performance).


Accommodation: Though several lodges are available around the temple town, the experienced travelers suggest that the best option is to stay at Pondicherry, which is 2 hours away from Chidambaram by road.

show route and directions
A markerChidambaram, Tamil Nadu -
Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
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B markerNataraja Temple, Chidambaram -
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu 608001, India
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© 2015 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @Venkatachari, Sir, Your visit and comments are appreciated. Thank you for voting and sharing.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi, Sunil. It is very interesting to read and view the images. Very excellent guide to visit Chidambaram. Done a good job. Voted up and interesting. Sharing on G+ also.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @tobusiness

      Glad to know that you loved this hub and find it is impressive and the images are lovely. When I visited the temple, I found a lot of tourists from Europe were enjoying and experiencing the rich ambiance of the temple complex. You are most welcome and I hope you reach here sooner or later. Thanks for your comments.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      An impressive article, lovely images. If I ever make it to this part of the globe, I'd certain visite some of those amazing temples. Voted up, beautiful and interested.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Devika

      Thanks for your reading and the encouraging comments. Thanks also for the vote and sharing/Tweeting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi sunilkunnoth2012 a very interesting read you have here. I enjoyed reading about another place. I like the photos and you said it all to the point and with a lot of information. Voted up, useful and interesting. Shared and Tweeted, etc.

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