Culture in ChidambaramChidambaram, located in the Cuddalore district is a famous religious destination in South India. It is located about 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal and 249 km from Chennai. The city seems to be divine, religious and offers importance to the classical form of dance called Bharathnatyam. Moreover, the town has many tourist attractions, picturesque locations, historical monuments and much more. Travelers are attracted to this place for various reasons like festivals, cultural shows and some lovely silk textiles
It is important to know that the two popular Tamil literary works “Thiruvasakam” and Thirukovaiyar are recited in the temples everyday. This place not only displays richness in divinity and art, but also in Tamil ancient literature. The inscription in the temples are well done by many skilled architectures and they depict lot of stories from the past. Few records estimate that those writings were made 1500 years ago.
Heritage of ChidambaramThe first spot that comes to the mind about heritage in Chidambaram is “The Nataraja Temple”. Located in East-Central Tamil Nadu, Nataraja Temple is one of the ancient temples in India that has its own place in the Indian history. One of the main specialties of the temple is that it has both Lord Shiva and Lord Govindaraja Perumal enshrined in one place. Here, the idol of Lord Shiva is placed in the famous temple . He is treated as the God for the classical dance form “Bharathnatyam”. The entire town looks green as the temple is surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests and the temple is being administered by a group of Brahmins called Dhikshidhars who also represent as the temple’s priests.
Events, Celebration and Beliefs of ChidambaramAll events, celebrations and beliefs in Chidambaram revolve around the temples and their history and heritage. Most of the beliefs are on the Thillai Nataraja temple that exist as the centre of attraction of the town. There are various events happening all throughout the year like the Natyanjali festival, where Bharathnatyam dancers from all over the country perform in front of Natraja. Performing in Chidambram is considered to be auspicious for all the dancers as Lord Nataraja is considered to be deity for Bharathnatyam. The ananda thandava posture of Lord Shiva is viewed by all the tourists visiting the destination. It is essential to know that the posture signifies that Lord Shiva is the one controlling the universe as creator, protector and the destroyer. Another great belief is that the town Chidambaram is located in the Lotus Heart of the Universe. The town is also said to be one of the panchabootha spots, depicting sky.
Chidambaram holds a large number of temples and there is a story behind each of the temples lying in the city. The sculpture of the temple that goes back in the second century also supports this interesting story. Lord Shiva entered the Thillai forests as a Pitchadanadar as a simple mendicant seeking alms. All womenfolk were moved by the grace and brilliance of Lord Shiva and this angered the sages. To take revenge they created a demon character called Muyalakan to destroy him. Lord Shiva, the most powerful God performed the Ananda Thandava and defeated the enemy. The sages eventually surrendered after they understood his true form.
Festivals in ChidambaramPeople in Chidambaram celebrate festivals all through out the year. Every festival is celebrated in a grand way and people flock in groups to enjoy the divinity of the place. As this place has got lot of special beliefs, each festival has its own colour and tradition.
All the festivals celebrated in Chidambaram are related to some auspicious days in the temple. Some of the popular festivals include The Mahabhishekas of Lord Nataraja, Aani Thirumanjana festival, Aardhraa Dhardhana festival, Nayanmar utsavam, Sivakamasundari Utsavarambam and Maha Shivarathri. Ratha Yathra is an ideal treat for the people who carry the idols adorned with jewelery, flowers and lights.
The Chittirai Thiruvonam or the third puja is celebrated during the month of April or May and the Uthiram of Aani is celebrated in the months of June and July. Thirumanjanam marks the beginning of the fourth puja or significant of the evening. This is followed by the Chaturdasi of Aavani that take place in the warm months of August and September.
Another great festival is the Chaturdasi celebrated in the month of Puratasi, i.e, chilly October and November, marking the end of puja or Arthajama. Of all pujas, the Marghazhi Thiruvaadhirai and the Aani Thirumanjanam are the ones that are known for its color and celebration. This is one of the most important festivals of Chidambaram celebrated by children and elders with equal vigor and passion. The beginning of these festivals is marked by a celebrated procession or a “rath yaatra” in which a huge stone sculpture of a famous deity is carried out followed by dancing and singing devotees. Followers visit the temple to observe the world renowned ending ceremony famous for its ritualistic dance of Lord Shiva. This ceremony has a rich story behind it.
According to mythology Lord Shiva was born on a full moon night in the form of Natarja. Numerous devotees offer pots of milk, coconut water, ghee, food and holy ashes to please Shiva Maharaj. The stone statues of Shiva Maharaj are bathed every 6 times a year on full moon days and these days are considered very auspicious in Chidambaram.
Cuisines and Food in ChidambaramChidambaram has all kinds of food joints which are extremely famous from its existence. If you are planning to experience a real South Indian meal, then get into the city of Chidambaram with your friends and family.
There are some restaurants that provide traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian food on banana leaves.
Some of the popular food joints in Chidambaram are Sri Krishna Vilas, Hotel Rk residency, Anupallavi multicuisine restaurant and Hotel Sharadharam.
West Car street, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, Chidambaram, India
Hotel Rk Residency Restaurant
30 Venugopal Pillai Street, Chidambaram 608001, India
17,18 East Car Street, Chidambaram 608001, India
Sri Krishna Vilas
Opp. Nataraj Temple, Chidambaram, India
Anupallavi Multicuisine Restaurant
VGP Street, 19, Chidambaram, India
Art and Craft in ChidambaramChidambaram with a unique cultural heritage serves to be a good place for arts and crafts attracting tourists from all over. People who are visiting the city can purchase some of the well created handicrafts depicting the richness and specialty of Chidambaram like Nataraja, dance and other art forms. Further, the crafts available in Chidambaram depicts the culture of south India.
Added to this, there are many textile and khadi crafts available too. The crafts of the city are manufactured using supreme quality and raw materials. Chidambaram is also known for its beautiful woven silk textiles, especially sarees. People from all over the country come to get the special kind of silk sarees called “Bhuvanagiri Silk”. One of the famous craft store in Chidambaram is Sri Kumaran Khadi Vasthiralayam that is located in south car street.
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