Chidambaram at a glance:
Coordinates: 11.4069° N, 79.6911° E
State: Tamil Nadu
A beautiful temple town in the eastern part of Tamil Nadu- Chidambaram is famous for housing the marvelous Lord Nataraja Temple and a few others which highlight its importance as a special place for pilgrims. This indeed is a stupendous choice for a weekend getaway from the urban aura.
How to reach Chidambaram:
By Air: Tiruchirappalli is the nearest airport to Chidambaram and it’s located at a distance of around 195 km. You can hire a taxi to reach the airport.
By Rail: Chidambaram rail station is the nearest railway station.
By Road: You can book a cab or take a bus to reach Chidambaram.
Places to visit and things to do in Chidambaram
Situated in the outskirts of the city, Chathapurinathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Osai Kodutha Nayaki. The temple is known to attract a huge number of people each year, who come to offer their prayers as well as admire its architecture which has remained true to the Dravidian style of the region.
It is a beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and is at the northern end of the town. The Thillai Kaliamman Temple was built by Kopperunjingan who ruled the region from around 1229 to 1278 A.D. There are several stone inscriptions and deities present. Daily rituals are still performed here.
Khadi Handicraft store:
pic credit: Citizen Journalist
Chidambaram doesn’t offer many shopping avenues for the shoppers out there. The market near the temple has a Khadi Handicrafts shop which is good for buying some souvenirs and local handicraft products. One must visit the handicraft stores to know about the traditional crafts firsthand.
Nattiya A/C Cocktail Lounge:
pic credit: Trip advisor
Nattiya Cocktail Lounge is the best place to get some drinks and sumptuous cocktails in a nice ambience. Being a temple town and a small one at that, Chidambaram has generally limited nightlife to offer.
The most awaited dance festival of the year, the Natyanjali Dance festival is not an occasion to be missed. The festival brings together, on a single platform some of India’s most accomplished classical dancers, performing in the blessed vicinity of Lord Shiva at the Nataraja Temple. A large number of people flock here to witness the grandeur of the festival.
Pichavaram Backwaters and Mangrove Forests:
Pichavaram is a unique destination that offers one a very special peek into the complexities of Mother Nature. Situated nearby the temple town of Chidambaram, Pichavaram hosts the second largest mangrove forest in the world and is a special place to explore for lovers of nature and the wild.
Shopping in Chidambaram:
Chidambaram offers limited possibilities for shopping one can only shop for souvenirs at the markets, the replicas of the temple and the Nataraja, and some local handicrafts. These limited stores and options, none the less give sufficient knowledge and experience of the rich culture.
Sirkazhi about 20 km from Chidambaram was the birthplace of the Tamil poet-saint, Thirugnana Sambandar. A temple was created in the place to commemorate his genius contribution to Tamil literature. This highly rendered shrine is a center of Bhairava worship and attracts many pious folks from many places.
A marvelous temple famous for its huge Sivaganga Tank and a thousand-pillar hall, Sivakamiamman Temple is a great place of worship for the devotees. It has a granite stoned idol of a goddess and many other ornate sculptures. The priest in this temple offer agamic poojas which are considered to be very special.
The Nataraja Temple:
One of the five Panchabootha Sthala, the Nataraja Temple is a place of deep religious importance for the Hindus. Spread across a sprawling 40 acres complex, the Lord Nataraja Temple situated in the heart of the city is one of the most beautiful examples of the beauty of Chola architecture. Distinguished as the chief icon of the city, this 10th century Chola temple has carvings of the 108 steps of Natya Shastra on the walls. One must certainly visit this place when in Chidambaram.
What to eat in Chidambaram : Local Food and Cuisine:
Chidambaram is a place for feasting on some delightful Tamil cuisines such as idli, dosai, vadai, and others. One can find both veg and non-veg platters, but most restaurants serve vegetarian food.