Chidambaram – The One With An Ever Increasing Number Of Devotees

Read fascinating facts about the Chidambaram Nataraja temple situated in Tamil Nadu and discover the splendid amalgamation of religion, culture and history. 

The town of Chidambaram, located in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu is a famous tourist spot. As soon as one sets foot in this transient town, the religious and cultural vibe immediately comes into notice. Ebullient photographers, religious visitors, you will find it all here in this place. Synonymous with holy shrines and  auspicious festivities, the town is greatly regarded in terms of religious significance, tradition and culture. Mainly ruled by the Pandyas, Cholas, Marathas and the British ultimately, the town is held high for tourism which generates the backbone of its economy. It is very well connected by air, land and train routes which is why visitors come in abundance to this place, not only to worship but also to learn and enjoy an exquisite culture which prevails in this town. It is the home to many Hindu temples and this is the reason why the status of ‘temple town’ has been given to Chidambaram. 

Chidambaram and its Most Prominent Temple 

The most prominent of them is the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, also Thillai Nataraja Temple, which is located right at the heart of this town. The primary deity which is worshipped in this temple is Shiva. In the other shrines of Shiva or Nataraja, he is represented and worshipped in the form of a Linga, but in the Nataraja temple of Chidambaram, Lord Shiva is represented in the dancing form. He is seen doing the Ananda Tandava or the dance of ecstasy. This idol of Lord Shiva seems to be larger than life and thus appreciated by many. It is also believed that in this particular shrine only, the great Mahadev performed his Tandava in a very intense manner. This temple situated in Chidambaram is one of the few places where Mahadev is portrayed in an anthropomorphic form. Along with Lord Shiva, Lord Govind Perumal is also worshipped in this temple, which is why Chidamabram Natraj temple is equally important for the followers of Vaishnavism as well as Shavivism. The temple has been traditionally under the supervision of an inbred group of Shaivite brahmin, also known as Dikshitar, who also adorn the role of its priest. 

Chidambaram Nataraja Temple: Breathtaking Architecture 

One of the specialties of the Chidambaram Nataraja temple is its splendid architecture. It will not be wrong to say that the temple witnesses the inflow of visitors from all over the country and the world because of its extraordinary anatomy. A different form of Shiva is seen inscribed on every stone and pillar of this temple, built in about one lakh six thousand square meters. Readers should also know that there are a total of nine gates in this Chidambaram temple and various postures of Bharatanatyam are inscribed on the walls on each side. The ancient temple has gone through numerous renovations during the rule of different dynasties like the Pandyas, Cholas, Pallavas and Cheras and what is visible today is the structure reconstructed in 12th-13th century. As it has been mentioned above, this is the only temple in the country where Lord Vishnu is also worshiped along with Shiva. They are known here as Govindaraja and Pandarigavalli.

Chidambaram Nataraja Shrine: Mythological Importance 

The mythological legend prevalent about this Shiva temple, where the Nataraja incarnation of Shiva is worshipped, that Lord Govind Raja Swamy used to reside in this shrine earlier. Once Mahadev approached him with the proposal to become the judge of a dance competition, which will take place between himself and Goddess Parvati. Govind Rajaswamy instantly agreed and he indicated Lord Shiva to lift his feet and perform the dance posture so as to win this contest. Since this dance pose was considered a taboo for women and under any circumstance Goddess Parvati could not perform it,  she gave up and since then the great Nataraja form of Shiva is worshipped and venerated in this temple. This is the reason why this temple has gained a special place in the hearts of the devotees and Chidambaram is widely known for this particular temple. 

Other Important Temples Near Chidambaram

The name ‘Temple Town’ says a lot about the presence of many temples in the town of Chidambaram. Needless to say, the most prominent one is Thillai Nataraja Temple, which remains the talk of the town. But there are several other temples in  and around the vicinity of Chidambaram, which increases its religious importance to a great extent. Some of them are mentioned below. 

  1. Kali Amman Temple situated in Chidambaram. The most fierce incarnation of Goddess Durga, Maa Kali is worshipped in this temple. 
  2. Brihadeeswarar temple which is located 50 kms away from Chidambaram. It has been said that the biggest Shiva linga in southern part of India is located in this temple only. 
  3. Bhoovaraga Swamy temple is at a close proximity to Chidambaram and only 25 kms away from it. The main deity who is worshipped here is Vishnu.
  4. Veera Narayana Perumal of Kattumannarkoil is one such ancient temple very dear to the followers of Vaishnavism. 
  5. Vaitheeswaran temple located in the vicinity of Chidambaram, where Lord Shiva is worshipped. 

Thus, along with paying heed to Nataraja, devotees also visit other religious shrines present in and around the locality. 

We hope this information about the Chidambaram Nataraja temple was helpful for you. May Lord Shiva keep showering his blessings upon you!!


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