Yesterday, we visited the north western frontier of India, Amritsar and saw some memorable places like The Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple, Jalianwala Bagh and the Wagah Border. Today, we are going to travel to one of the most historic towns in Tamil Nadu, India viz., Chidambaram, the earliest mention is found as early as 1st century CE in Sangam Literature / Tamil Literature.
This is going to be the last post from my travels as of now. Over the last 20 days, it has been a rewarding journey for me to reminiscence these places and my experiences during their visits. I do wish to keep travelling and bring you the history and visual beauty of many more places.
Chidambaram is a town and municipality in Cuddalore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, at a distance 215 km from Chennai and about 65 km from the Union territory of Puducherry and is located close to the shores of Bay of Bengal. As mentioned above, Chidambaram is a town of significant antiquity.
For more information on Chidambaram, Please visit the huge Wiki Page: Chidambaram.
Thillai Nataraja temple, Chidambaram
Nataraja Temple, also referred to as the Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple, is dedicated to Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance. A Shiva shrine existed at the site when the town was known as Thillai. Chidambaram, the name of the city and the temple literally means “atmosphere of wisdom”, the temple architecture symbolizes the connection between the arts and spirituality, creative activity and the divine. The temple wall carvings display all the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni, and these postures form a foundation of Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance.
The temple complex is spread over an area of 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. The main complex is dedicated to Shiva Nataraja and the complex contains shrines to deities such as Shivakami Amman, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in the form Govindaraja Perumal.
The temple is one of the five elemental lingas in the Shaivism pilgrimage tradition, and considered the subtlest of all Shiva temples. The Nataraja temple has ancient roots, likely following the temple architecture tradition that is found all over South India from at least the 5th century.
Thillai Natarajar temple is one of the Pancha (five) Bhoota (elements) Sthalam (place). (Please visit this post for more explanation on this).
Pancha Bhootham refers to the five prime elements of nature viz., Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In Tiruvannamalai temple, Shiva is said to have manifested himself in the form of massive column of fire, In Thiruvanaikaval temple, Shiva represents water element where the appu lingam is submerged in water, In Chidambaram, empty space is worshiped as Shiva (akasha lingam) to signify God is beyond human comprehension. Unlike the other temples, this one does not contain a physical stone linga, while Kalahasti is representation of the airy element and Kanchipuram Ekambareswarar Temple is representation of the element Earth.
For more information on Thillai Nataraja temple, Please visit the Wiki Page: Thillai Nataraja temple.
Govindaraja Perumal Temple or Thiruchitrakoodam in Chidambaram in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is inside the premises of Thillai Nataraja Temple, constructed in the Tamil architecture. The temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is No.23 in the list of 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Govindaraja and his consort Lakshmi as Pundarikavalli. Alwars. Kulashekhara Alwar mentions this temple as Tillai Chitrakutam and equates Chitrakuta of Ramayana fame with this shrine. The shrine has close connections with the Govindaraja temple in Tirupati dating back to saint Ramanuja of the 11-12th century.
For more information on Govindaraja Perumal Temple, Please visit the Wiki Page: Govindaraja Perumal Temple.