Monday, May 9, 2011


        Chidambaram is also called as Thillai since the place was originally a forest of Thillai (Exce caria agallecha) shrubs. It is important pilgrim centre and a holy place for Saivites as the famous NATARAJAR Temple is located here. It is 230 kms from Chennai.


           The temple, located in the centre of the town, covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of town, covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamilnadu. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presidency deity of the is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. There is also a shrine known as Chitrakootam dedicated to Lord Govindaraja, adjacent to the Natarajar shrin. There are  five halls in temple namely, the Nritta Sabha, Deva Sabha, Kanaka Sabha, Chit Sabha and Raja Sabha.
          The Chit Sabha houses the Akasa Lingam, Kanaka Sabha houses the Nataraja image. These two sabhas are covered with  gold tiles. Nritta Sabha is the hall of immortal dance. This Shabha has fifty six pillars depicting dancing figures. Here the stones pulsate with rhythm and life. Deva Sabhais the hall of festivals and meeting place of the administrators. The Raja Sabha is the 1000 pillar hall measuring 103 meters long and 58 meters wide where the Pandyas, the Cholas and others celebrated their victories.
          The Eastern tower rises a height of 40.8 meters. On the side walls of the entrance  through this tower are carved the 108 dance poses of Bharathanatyam. The Bharathanatyam Dance poses can be seen in the Western tower also. The Northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 meters.

          The Sivakamiamman Temple, the Sivagang tank and the thousand-pillar hall are other important features of the temple.

Kali Temple:
          The Thillai Kaliamman temple is at the northern end of the town. It was built by Chola King Kopperunjingan who ruled between 1229 A.D. and 1278 A.D.


        Pichavaram is 16 Kms. East of Chidambaram on the east coast. It covers an area of about 3000 acres criss crossed by backwaters, thus forming several islands. The mangroves on the shores of these islands provide an alluring charm. It is an ideal place for water sports. 

            It is 20 kms. From Chidambaram.  The temple here has  three shrines,    1. Sri  Brahmapureeswarar,    Sattanathar and Thoniappar shrines 2. The Goddess Tirunirai Nayaki shrine and 3. the shrine of God Child Gnanasambandar.

      It is 26 kms. From Chidambaram. The place is famous for the Siva temple dedicated to Vaidyanatheeswarar the healer of all diseases and his consort Thailyalnayaki. It is believed that a bath in the holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex will cure all diseases. There is also a Murugan shrine dedicated to SELVA MUTHUKUMARASWAMI  inside.

THIRUVAKKARAI (Geological Park):
          This small village is  located 5 kms. Off  Puducherry-Tindivanam road via Mailam about 95 kms. From Chidambaram and 29 kms. From Pondicherry. At this village and areas adjoining it, large numbers of  petrified tree trunks know as Fossil Wood are found. There is also an ancient Siva Temple of the Chola period called Vakra Kali Temple.

     It is located on the Tindivanam-Tiruvannamalai road about 25 kms.  from Tindivanam and is about 132 kms. from Chidambaram. This place is associated with Raja Desing. There is a 700 years old fort sprawling across three hills  of huge and step boulders. According to tradition the original fort was laid by Kone Chiefs. The fort was held by the Vijayanagr Nayaks, Marathans, Moguls, Carnatic Nawabs, French and the British. Rajagiri and Krishnagiri are tow important fortifications here and are popular picnic spots.
          It is about 85 kms. From Chidambaram on the Pondicherry-Tindivanam road. There is a Murugan Temple on a hillock. The Panguni Uthiram festival held in March-April attracts devotees in large numbers from far and near.

       It is about 45 kms from Chidambaram via vadalur. It is one of the biggest industrial complexes in the country. The Lignite mined here is used in thermal poser stations. Apart form fertilizers and Leco (cooking coal) a number of byproducts are also produced from the Lignite.

     It is  about  45 kms from Chidambaram and is located on the banks of the River Manimuthar. There is an ancient Siva Temple dedicated to Lord Vridhagiriswarar and his Consort Vridhambigai. It is one of the major town in the District.

          It is about 65 kms form Chidambaram. Arikamedu was the earliest Indo-Roman Trading Station on the east coast of India. Excavations here have uncovered Roman coins, wine jars, etc. Further evidence shows that it was also a Buddhist stronghold during the Sangam period.

          Srimushnam is located north-west of Chidambaram and is know for the Sri Bhuvarahaswami temple. One of the eight self-created Swayam Vyakta shetras in the South. The front mandapam, build by Nayak rulers of the 17th  the royal portraits of the Nayak family who built the temple and the mandapam. century A.D. called Purushasukta mandapam is noted for its architectural treasures. Shaped like a Ratham or Car, it is replete with carvings of figures of warriors mounted on horses and elements. On pillars in the centre of the Hall are carved.

    It is  situated on the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam road and is a railway station. It is about 36 kms from Chidambaram. Ramalingaswamigal popularly called VALLALAR had constructed here an octagon shaped sabha. It is called the Sathyagnan Sabai. It is said that he had chosen this spot because all the four great towers of Chidambaram Temple are visible from here. The  Sanctum of this Sabha or temple is  separated from the main hall by seven screen of which only three are removed on ordinary days. It is on the “Thai Poosam” day in December-January that all the screens are removed so that the devotees can have a darshan of the Jothi, the eternal flame. Saint Ramalingaswamigal had sung thousands of songs  which expound the Saiva Siddhantha Philosophy. They were compiled into several volumes called Thiru Arutpa.

          It is 42 kms. from  Chidambaram, Rajendra-I succeeding his illustrious father Raja Rajan-I moved his capital from Thanjavur and founded here a magnificent city and a temple to Lord Siva. The temple is noted for its massiveness and richly carved sculptures on the outside niches of the sanctum sanctorum. A big Nandi in front  of the temple made of brick and mortar, a lion-headed well with a flight of steps leading to the water and gigantic Dwarapalakas are the other special features of this temple. Recently the State Department of Archaeology has undertaken excavations at Maligaimedu,2 kms. South-west of Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and has exposed the remains of the royal palace constructed by Rajendra Chola-I.

          Hills is situated on the western side of Kallakurichi Taluk. Spread over an area of 600 sq kms. Approximately with the height ranging from 315 mts to 1190 mts. There is a botanical garden on this hills. There are two waterfalls here known as megum. The area is ideal for trekking. Summer festival is also held every year in May.


          Poompuhar was once a major port of the Chola Empire. The original city was submerged by the sea and at present only a small village is there. This ancient city is also the birth place of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram. The ancient glory of this place has been revived by the Government of Tamil Nadu. An art gallery depicting scenes from the Silapathikaram was opend in 1973. Other monuments are the Nedungal Manram, the Pavai Manram, the Elagni Manram and the Kotrappandal.
          Puhar, known to Ptolemy and Pliny, was a planned city build over 2000 years ago. Excavations show an extent of planning that would make most modern planners envious. An archaeologists delight, Poompuhar is a town for those who like to wander amidst history and take a stroll through time. For the more prosaic, a fine beach and calm waters offer good sea-bathing.

          The very early Danish Settlement with Churches, a Siva Temple. A Museum and a fine Beach is nearby, this place is 15 kms from the Poompuhar.

   Velankanni is one of the most visited pilgrim centers in India. It is a town situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal. This renowned shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health draws pilgrims from all over the world. Not only Christians but also the people of other faiths come to this Church to pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Health. Knowing the importance of this town the Pope in the Vatican city has declared Velankanni as a Holy City.
This Roman Catholic Church has an extended Basilica which has two floors, where one can find the statue of Jesus Christ. The Gothic style of architecture is a unique feature of the Church. The church itself is an imposing building with inspiring architecture. While the buildings have been painted white the roof of the Church is made by tiles with striking red in contrast to the color of the walls. The environment around the Shrine is spick and span, radiation rays of hope and piety.
   There is also shrine of Our Lady of Sorrow wherein the sorrowing Mother is depicted carrying infant Jesus in Her hand. The Museum situated opposite to the Basilica has a very rich variety of exhibits. The precious offerings made by the devotees are on display here. Biblical incidents are depicted on both side walls. Timing: 6.30 am to 8.00 pm. Festivals are celebrated here with all pomp and gaiety. Every year on August 29th the feast of Our Lady commences with the hoisting of the flag. The 10 day Festival ends on the  8th  September after the dismounting of the flag.
          The pilgrims who come here also follow the Hindu tradition of tonsuring their heads as an offering, and also perform ear-boring ceremony. This is a religious centre where Hindus, Muslims and Christian from all over India congregate in large numbers and worship in harmony.

  The Dargha in Nagore near Nagapttinam, this district head-quarters is a holy place. Not only the followers of Islam but also of all faiths visit this sacred centre throughout the year to offer their prayers and get the blessings of the saint. Nearly five hundred years ago, a son was born in a devout Muslim family in a village in the Central Provinces (Madhya Pradesh). He was named Abdul Kahder. With lust for the grace of Allah, he wandered with his followers far and wide. He came to Tamilnadu after visiting different places like Keelakkarai and preaching the doctrine of love, service, devotion to the Almightily he settled down in Nagore in a piece of land granted by a devotee of this saintly preacher. His words and deeds were divine and prophetic. He said Islam preaches the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man. He sent his disciples to work among the people and spread the message of Prophet Mohammed. He passed away in 1558 at the age of 68 and in Nagore Dargha are the  relics of this god man. Khandoori Festival is the anniversary celebrations and devotees from all over the world join the festival to be blessed  by Nagore Andavar.

Nagai Beach:
          A pristine beach has been developed to attract people. Main attractions are Beach Volly ball, Joyful Catumaram rides, Children’s amusent park and other recreational facilities.

        A beautiful Murugan Temple dedicated to Lord Singarvelan is housed in a large complex. The pillars of this temple are adorned with intricate and exquisite carvings. The beautiful paintings of a bygone ear are amazing in color and portryal. Besides, this temple has the shrines of Siva, Vishnu and Hanuman. It is a rare combination, indeed. Worship in this temple removes all the hurdles of the devotees, it is believed.

Thirukkadaiyur (Thirukkadayur)
          Thirukkadaiyur is on the  bus route between Mayiladuthurai (Mayavaram) and Tranquebar. It is one of the eight temples (Ashta Veeratta Thalam) glorifying the heroic deeds of Lord Siva. Thalapuranam say that Lord Siva exterminated Yama at this place to save the life of Markkandeya. It is one of the famous sakthi Thalams. The holy humns of Abirmai, Ananthi, had been sung by the great poet and devotee Abirami Pattar in this place. People prefer this place to celebrate their Shastiyaptha Poorthi (Completion of Sixty Years) 

Kodiakkarai also  called Point Calimere, is situated abutting the Palk Strait. Spread overran area of over 321.17 hectares, this Wild Life Sanctuary boasts of  mammals like blue buck, spotted deer, wild boar, semi wild ponies, bonnet macaque, water birds like flamingoes, ibises, herons, and spoonbills. Sea turtle, starred tortoise, vipers, marsh crocodiles, etc. are some of the reptiles. Fish, dolphins, dugong, sea lion, sea cow are occasionally found here. Besides, it is where the occurrence of varieties of corals are found.

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