Chidambaram is located 250 km south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. ‘Chit’ translates to knowledge and ‘ambalam’ to space or ether. So, Chidambaram literally means the infinite space of knowledge. The place is also referred to as ‘Thillai’ as it was covered with dense growth of Thillai – a mangrove species tree.
There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious ‘Thai Poosam’ day.
Chidambaram is a marvellous cultural, traditional & pilgrimage centre that greets one with its beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja. It is one of the renowned ‘Pancha Bootham stalas’ for Lord Shiva where he is represented as each of the five elements. In Chidambaram, he is represented as space. Besides the massive temple of Lord Shiva, Chidambaram also boasts of a lovely mangrove forest with interesting boat rides to entertain tourists.
Easily commutable from major cities, this historical place offers plenty of retreat for the historian, adventure enthusiast and spiritualist in every person. The accommodation in Chidambaram in the form of hotels and dharamsalas. Most of them are located in the heart of the city that offer a panoramic view of the city and in proximity to the temple.
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