Tamilnadu - Places in Tamilnadu - Chidambaram


Chidambaram is also known as Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of the thillai, botanical ispilgrim centre and a holy place for Saivites as the famous Nataraja Temple is located here.


Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique nolely to the art of Bharatanatyam, but also it i0 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts.

The eastern gopuram is 40.8 m. high and carved on it are the 108 dance poses of Bharatanatyam. The western tower has also similar carvings while the northern tower that soars to a height of 42.4 m. is the tallest.

The idol of Nataraja is installed in the kanakasabha, the roof of which is covered with gold Plates. The icon is a stunning piece of sculpture that evokes a sense of continuous movement.

Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum, replicas of this idol are easily available in most handicraft emporia and shops selling art and curio objects.

A shrine to Govindaraja or Lord Vishnu lies adjacent to the main shrine and has a beautiful idol of the lord reclining on Adisesha, the serpent. There are two other shrines, one dedicated to Subramanya and the other to Ganesha. In the courtyard, a large Nandi looks on devotedly at its lord and master through an aperture on the wall.

Chidambaram Temple

The historic Chidambaram Temple ( சிதம்பரம் கோயில் ) is dedicated to Lord Shiva in His form of the Cosmic Dancer as well as to Lord Govindaraja Perumal, making it one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place. It is one of the panchabhoota sthalam - representing five basic elements. This is the Akasa Sthalam representing 'Space' among the Pancha Bootha Sthalams. The others are - Tiruvannamalai Thejo sthalam - Fire) Kanchipuram Kalahasti Tiruvanaikaval The temple houses the Akasha Lingam of Shiva and is one of the greatest Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu. The Govindaraja shrine was opened in 1639 C.E. by a Telugu/Kannada Nayak chief of that area. It hosts the most ancient set of 108 Karana stone carvings, the key dance movements of Nataraja. The temple complex is spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city.

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