Nestled among ancient temples and architectural splendors, Chidambaram is a small temple town in Tamil Nadu, India where the Indian culture, tradition and religious rituals are preserved with all its aesthetic values and beauty. Chidambaram, the word synonym to Lord Shiva, is a hot spot among Shivaites (devotees of Lord Shiva) with the renowned Chidambaram Natarajar temple.
Chidambaram is famed as the land of one of the most ancient Shiva temples referred in Puranas and Mythologies. As per Hindu belief there are five natural elements forming the whole world and there are five Shiva temples representing each of these elements. Chidambaram is one among the five temples and represents the air (space), one of the five natural elements creating the body and world. The other Shiva temples coming in this category are Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth), Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Kalahasti Nathar (wind) and Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire).
Lord Shiva appears in the form of the cosmic dancer Nataraja in this temple. This temple has a Nataraja idol as the prime deity, a distinct feature from other temples where Shivalingam is worshiped as the prime deity. This ancient temple, visited by thousands and thousands from all over the world every year, was constructed by the Chola Kings. The temple has imposing architecturally built gopurams (towers) on each side and has five spacious courts. The temple also has a deity of Lord Govindaraja Perumal, a form of Lord Vishnu. This temple is one of the few temples in which both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshiped. The Pallava king Simhavarman, Hiranyavarman of 5th century CE, had renovated this temple with Dravida style of architecture. The sculptures and images display the mesmeric talents of South Indian and Dravidian creativity and artistic talents.
Tourists from all over India and abroad flock to this temple down all through the year, especially during the festival seasons. The eye feasting car festivals extending to 10 days in April/May and December/January attracts huge number of devotees. It is believed that performing dances in front of the Nataraja is bliss. Natyanjali festival celebrated in February attracts many performers of folk arts and dance to Chidambaram town. Chidambaram houses numerous other temples as well.
There are many shopping options in and around the city. These include the Khadi Craft centre and the Car Street near the Nataraja temple.
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Travel within city
The temple town of Chidambaram is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and many pilgrims can be seen in the town. Travelling within the town of Chidambaram is very easy, given the number of options available in the town. You can opt for either buses or auto rickshaws in order to travel around the town.
Bus travel in Chidambaram is the basic and cheapest mode of travel present in the town. Buses cover all parts of the town easily, and traveling by buses can be quick provided you know your way around the city. Bus fares may range around Rs 3 to 5, depending on the distance covered.
Auto rickshaws are yet another mode of internal transport available within the town. Auto rickshaws can be taken up from the major parts of the town, and these auto rickshaws will normally charge fixed rates as they do not run on meter. It is better to negotiate a rate with the driver before boarding an auto rickshaw. Fares should not exceed Rs 50-60. They may charge special night fare.
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