Chidambaram Travel Guide

If you are looking for the purest of Dravidian culture, Chidambaram is the best place to go to in South India. Located about 250 km from the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, this small town is spread over an area of 5 sq. km and is a spot for performing pilgrimage by devotees of Lord Shiva. The town belonged to the Cholas of Southern India and is one of the most famous and sought-after travel destination when it comes to culture tourism. The other name of this town is Thillai because in the olden days, this was a forest of mangrove trees by the name of Thillai. The two renowned saints, Patanjali and Vyagrapada, lived here and as the legend goes, Lord Shiva was so pleased by the devotion and dedication of these two saints that on the day of Thaipoosam, Lord Shiva performed the Nataraja dance. Revolving around this legend, life in this town developed and so did contemporary history; the golden hall of dance was built by Sundra Pandya covering it in gold plates.

The temple holds inscriptions telling the history and importance of this place as it has inscriptions of the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Pallavas and the Vijayanagara and altogether, this temple holds inscriptions of empires reigning for almost 5 centuries. Apart from a rich history, Chidambaram's scenic beauty surpasses numerous places in South India and adds to the growth of tourism here. It is a perfect place for nature lovers as one could get lost amidst the beauty of the forests and will be astonished by the backwaters of Pichavaram. For bird lovers too, Chidambaram shall not disappoint as migratory birds, in significant numbers, come to the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. The town also houses reputed and popular Annamalai University. Find a complete Chidambaram travel guide to this majestic town with all popular tourist attractions, best time to visit, and top things to do.

Best Time to Visit Chidambaram

Chidambaram is a town of natural beauty, Hinduism and festivals. So the best time to visit this tourist destination is when nature is at its peak and when festivals are celebrated.

  • Summer

    Summers are hot and humid in this town. Summers in Chidambaram are somewhat scorching with temperature ranging to a highest of 41°C to a lowest of 30°C and people do not prefer going to Chidambaram during summer. However, The Adi Thirumanjanam, one of the major festivals in Chidambaram, takes place in the month of June and people do visit during this time to witness and celebrate this festival.

  • Monsoon

    Chidambaram has a different beauty during monsoons. It starts from June and continues till September. With the rains showering from the clouds almost everyday, the town gets its own charm with its natural beauty. There are no major festivals that take place during monsoons.

  • Winter

    Winter season commences in the month of December and continues till February. The temperature may increase to a maximum level of 30°C and can go down to a minimum of 21°C. It is the ideal time to visit Chidambaram. The Dance Festival of Natyanjali, where dancers from all around the world come to participate, happens from February or March and takes place for 5 consecutive days. Other festivals like Markazhi Thiruvadhirai take place in the months of December and January.

Popular Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit in Chidambaram

Chidambaram offers a mixture of nature and spirituality. There is Mangrove forest around this town and it also offers waterways, exotc birds, seafood and temples with outstanding architecture to be relished by the tourists. This amalgamation of religion and nature makes this town a major tourist attraction for visitors around India and also from the world.

  • Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

    The mangrove timberland at Pichavaram, which is undoubtedly one of the most popular among sightseeing places in South India covers 1,100 hectares and joins the Bay of Bengal, where it's isolated by a long sand bank. Evidently, the woods has 50 islands of different sizes, and 4,400 of all shapes and sizes waterways. Around 200 types of birds have been found, alongside angle, prawns, crabs, clams, turtles, and otters. There are around 20 distinct types of trees in the mangrove forest. The trees develop in water that is 3-10 feet somewhere down in better places.

  • Thillai Nataraja Temple

    The temple complex is spread more than 50 sections of land in the core of the city. This temple portrays Lord Shiva as the Lord of the move Bharatanatyam and is one of only a handful couple of temples where Shiva is spoken to by a human murthi. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolizes the movement of the universe as managed by Lord Shiva.

  • Thillai Kali Amman Temple

    At the northern end of the Thillai Nataraja Temple, situated the Thillai kali Amman Temple, is one of the most sought for travel places in this town. A few stone inscriptions in the temple, which delineate the old Hindu Shoza periods, can be seen. Temple priests perform pooja four times each day, alongside a unique pooja done on each Friday and Sunday. There are symbols of different divinities kept in the temple including Goddess Durga, Lord Murugan and Lord Kanagavaishnavi.

  • Annamalai University

    The Annamalai University is spread over 1500 acres of land and is one of the most renowned universities in this country. Founded in 1929, it offers numerous courses in science, engineering, management, architecture and arts. The location of this university makes it all the more attractive as the spectacularly beautiful town of Chidambaram compliments it. It is surely a place to visit when you are in Chidambaram.

  • Pichvaram Backwaters

    To discover nature in its most beautiful shape, visiting the Pichavaram Backwaters is a must. While going through forests in a boat, you can get look at an assortment of extraordinary and indigenous birds. Up until this point, almost 200 types of birds have been seen in the mangrove forests, inferable from the nearness of channels, crevasses, brooks, mud pads and different types of natural surroundings.

  • Tirunallurpperumanam Temple

    Tirunallurpperumanam Temple is one of the temples that has a delightful engineering and one of the major tourism attractions in Chidambaram. The temple has 2 prakarams where the external prakaram is encompassed by tall dividers. At the highest point of the temple there is a colossal Rajagopuram respecting the aficionados. There are 100 columns in the lobby of the external prakaram with numerous pictures of Sambandar and his partner.

  • Tiruvetkalam Temple

    This temple is situated in the region of the Annamalai University at Chidambaram. Tiruvetkalam is the second temple in the series of the Tevara Stalangal on the northern banks of the waterway Kaveri in the Chola area of Tamilnadu. Additionally, close to this temple is the Shivastalam Tirukkazhippalai. Inscriptions from the Nayaka period (sixteenth century) are found in this temple. This east-bound temple has a Nagalinga tree and a temple tank in front.

Where to Stay in Chidambaram?

Chidambaram being one of the most visited towns in Southern India, tourism has developed significantly, and it still does today. There are no tourist destinations close to Chidambaram and hence, staying in this town itself, is recommended. There are numerous budget hotels as well as luxury hotels, spread across the town and resorts which give you beautiful nature views from their windows. The accommodation options in Chidambaram are decent.

How to Reach Chidambaram?

Chidambaram is properly connected to all the major cities and towns in South India. By taking a flight or a train to any major city in South India, one can easily reach Chidambaram by availing either local transport or private transport.

  • By Air

    Chidambaram is connected to almost all the big cities in the country through its airways, Tiruchirappalli being the nearest airport to Chidambaram, which is located at a distance of 195 km. Hire a taxi from the airport and reach Chidambaram.

  • By Rail

    This town lies on the Chennai Trichy line. It is also well connected through rail to the towns of Rameswaram, Thanjavur and Kumbakonam.

  • By Road

    When going by road, Chidambaram is well connected to almost all the major cities. You could take a private vehicle or public buses are available from Bengaluru which is connected via NH 44, Chennai via NH 32, Vellore via SH 4, Tiruchirapalli via NH 38, Salem via NH 79, Madurai via NH 38, and Coimbatore via NH 544. The roads of South India are brilliant, and it does not take much time to reach a destination when you are travelling on them

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