ChidambaramThe Chidambaram Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva (or Siva) in His form of the Cosmic Dancer, Nataraja, is a temple complex spread over 40 acres. To the follower of Shaivism or Saivism, the very word ‘Koil ’ or Temple refers to the Chidambaram temple. In the same way, to the followers of Vaishnavism (the religion followed by the devotees of Lord Vishnu) it refers to Srirangam or Thiruvaramgam.

The word Chidambaram is derived from ‘Chit’, meaning ‘consciousness,’ and ‘ambaram’, meaning sky (aakasam or aakayam); thus it refers to the 'chidakasam', the sky of consciousness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain as mentioned by all vedas and scriptures.

One more theory is it is derived from CHITRAMBALAM (CHIT + AMBALAM) Ambalam means Stage for performing arts. The 'chidakasam' is the state of supreme bliss or 'aananda' and lord Natarajar is the symbolic representation of the supreme bliss or 'aananda natanam'. Saivaites believe that a visit to Chidambaram leads to liberation.

The story of Chidambaram begins with the legend of Lord Siva strolling into the Thillai Vanam ('Vanam' meaning forest and 'thillai' trees - botanical name Exocoeria agallocha, a species of mangrove trees - which currently grows in the Pichavaram wetlands near Chidambaram. The temple sculptures depicting the Thillai trees date back to the 2nd century AD).

Chidambaram is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams signifying the five elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram) and space (Chidambaram).
The Chidambaram temple car is probably one of the most beautiful examples available of temple car making in Tamil Nadu. This car on which Lord Nataraja descends twice a year is drawn by several thousands of devotees during the festivals.

Places to see in Chidambaram
The Nataraja Temple-The temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates.
Kali Temple-The Thillaikaliamman temple is on the northern end of the town. It was built by Kopperunjingan, who ruled between 1229 AD and 1278 AD.
Annamalai University-It is a residential University founded by the Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar. It is a great centre of Tamil learning and carnatic music; now offers educational facilities in various disciplines including Medicine, Agriculture, Engineering etc.

How to reach Chidambaram
By Air-Nearest Airport is Trichy.
By Rail-It is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Chennai.
By Road-It is also connected with all major towns.

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