The Chidambaram temple houses the Nataraja (Shiva in Ananda Tandava pose; the Cosmic Dance of bliss) statue. It is of great religious, historical and cultural significance. Chidambaram is one of the foremost Shaivite shrines in India. It is interesting to note that the word "Koyil" or temple in the Tamil Shaivite tradition refers to Chidambaram, where Natarajar is enshrined in the Ananda Tandavam (Dance of Bliss) pose.
Chidambaram is one of the Panchabhoota signifying the 5 elements of
wind water, fire, earth and space. The famous Tamil poets like
Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar as well as Manikkavacakar have sung verses in
praise of Chidambaram temple. Besides the above-mentioned poets, there
are many other literary works that praise the glory of Chidambaram.
The origin of the Chidambaram temple is shrouded in mystery. There are
many legends associated with the Chidambaram temple. The legend of Adi
Shesha has it that aroused with irrepressible desire to witness Shiva's
dance in person at Chidambaram, Seshan descended to the earth as
Patanjali. There is yet another legend associated with the Chidambaram
temple. It commemorates the dance duel between Shiva and Kali. This
legend has been portrayed in the Nritta Sabha, one of the halls within
the Chidambaram temple. Another recent legend associated with the
Chidambaram temple goes like this- the sacred Tamil works of the
Nayanmaars (Shaivite Saints) had been missing for several years and were
later found in a dilapidated state in one of the of the Chidambaram
How to Reach the Chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram is well connected by rail to important towns and cities of
Tamilnadu. Chidambaram can be reached from Chennai (235 Km) in
approximately six hours, from Kumbakonam in two hours and from Tanjore
in four hours.
Chidambaram is reachable by bus from almost anywhere in Tamil Nadu and
other adjoining states.
The nearest airport is Trichy at a distance of about 160 Km.