Chidambaram Travel Guide– The temple town Chidambaram has gained popularity for its enigma and divinity. Yearly many pilgrims come here to pay homage to Lord Shiva in Nataraja Swamy form.
Whereas the researchers come here to research on the temple mysteries from across the globe. I am excited to share my personal experience during the Chidambaram Natraja Swamy temple visit along with its mysteries.
We started from Chennai to Chidambaram via East coast road(ECR). It took around 4 hours to reach the temple. After reaching the temple town, we witnessed full of hustle and bustle with the busy life of rural Tamil Nadu.
However, the people are very friendly and guided us to reach the temple. The Nataraja swami temple is crowded most of the day. But due to god’s grace, we were able to have a nice Darshan of Lord Nataraja.
There is Lord Vishnu in Ananthasayana form in the opposite complex to the main sanctum and another beautiful shrine of Goddess Parvathi Devi (Shivakama Sundari) inside the temple complex.
Mysteries of Lord Nataraj Swamy temple
There are numerous scientific and spiritual concepts associated with this temple. From my childhood, I heard people saying “Chidambara Rahasym” which I never understood. When I visited the temple, I understood few things which I am eager to share.
Since I come from a Science background, I will tell the scientific significance related to the temple first. Chid means consciousness and Ambaram mean Aakash(Sky). Hence, the temple’s main idol is Nataraja Swamy, a cosmic dancing form of Lord Shiva.
The cosmic dance of the Lord is taken into consideration and modern physics represents the cosmic dance as the dance of sub-atomic particles in the atom. As the cosmic dance represents both annihilation and creation, similarly, the dance of subatomic particles creates and annihilates the atom.
The place where the Lord’s idol is located in the center of Earth’s magnetic equator. After a long research for around 8 years’ scientists concluded the region where the idol’s big toe is pointed to Earth is the center of Earth’s magnetic equator.
As many of us know there are 12 Jyothir Lingas in India. Similarly, there are Panchabhuta(5 elements) lingas. Each consists of five elements Fire, Wind, Earth, Space, and Water. Here the Chidambaram temple represents the Space element of Panchabhuta.
The spiritual interpretation of the temple is the realization of oneself. Since it is Akasha Linga, one can’t view Shiva Linga with a naked eye.
Another mystery lies here in the Chit Saba, where Lord Sabanayaka is located. Here one can see only the Vilwa leaf when the priest removes the screen for Aarathi.
The screen which they move is Maya(illusion). A person who overcomes Maya can visualize the ultimate reality which has no being and end.
Darshan and other details
When we went for Darshan first time, we didn’t know if we need to take a Puja ticket. If you have a ticket they send you to the main temple sanctum which is located in the center of the elevated Mandapam.
We saw some were inside the main sanctum whereas other like us standing outside in the passage between Mandapas. We saw Lord Nataraja from far in the crowd.
After that, we went to Lord Vishnu temple which is the opposite Mandapam of Lord Nataraja Swamy.
After the darshan, we started roaming in the temple aimlessly and prayed to other Shiva lingas in the temple. In the process, we happened to see numerous foreign tourists with guides explaining to them details about the temple.
Before leaving home we decided to go and have a proper darshan one more time. This time, we came to know we need to buy a ticket to enter the main sanctum.
We took tickets along with other devotees and went to the main temple sanctum and had a good darshan of Lord Nataraja along with Goddess Parvathi Devi.
If planning on a trip to The Chidambaram temple visit during temple working timing which is 6 AM to 12 PM and 5 PM to 10 PM.
Legends of the Chidambaram Temple
Long back in the Thillai forest region, there were Maharishis who had powers to even captivate god with their magical powers. Lord Shiva thought of testing them. He disguised himself as a roaming mendicant along with Mohini Devi, Lord Vishnu Avatar.
The rishis’ wives who happen to witness the brilliant and charming Lord in disguise got infatuated by his handsomeness. This angered Maharishis. They first sent serpents towards the lord, the lord easily placed the serpents in his matted hair.
Next, they sent a tiger to which Lord skins and made as his dress, lastly, they sent a demon Muyalakan. Lord with a gentle smile stepped on the back of the demon and started Ananda Tandavam. The demon represents arrogance and ignorance. Later rishis realize their mistake and surrender to god.
There is another story where Maharishi Patanjali, an incarnation of Adishesha wished to see Lord’s Ananda tanavam. He does severe penance in the Thillai forest along with his disciple Upamanyu.
The Shiva linga they worshiped is the Thirumoolataneswarar deity. Lord blessed both with his auspicious Ananda tandavam.
After having darshan of Shivakama Sundari devi we started to Chennai after having delicious south Indian Thali.
Dress Code and Language
Not all temples in India are conservative about dress code, similarly, there are temples in Tamil Nadu which are not particular about attire. One can wear a dress as per their choice, but make sure you wear an appropriate dress.
Avoid sleeveless tops and shorts, these dresses look inappropriate for any temple. But, in the main temple sanctum men has to remove shirt similar to other temples in Karnataka and Kerala.
Language won’t be a problem as you can talk in English, since different languages people around the world come for Lord Nataraja Darshan.
Lord Nataraja Idol in the CERN campus raised curiosity and popularity among people. It is one of the temples in India where Foreigners and other Non-Hindu people are allowed.
Places to visit near the Chidambaram Temple
One of the must-visit places near Chidambaram temple is Mangrove forest. It is located in the Pichavaram village region which is about 15 km from Chidambaram. If you are looking for some fun activities like boating and canoeing then add Vellar-Coleroon estuarine to your tour list.
What so special about this Mangrove? It is the world’s second-largest Mangrove covering 1100 hectares of area. The beautiful sight of the Mangrove forest and the sight of the Bay of Bengal is separated by just a small landscape. Make this Pichavaram a must-visit place.
Shopping and Stay
If you are first time visiting Tamil Nadu and want to buy something which consists of the local marks, the best option to buy will be Silk saris and Silk dhoti at the local shops. Along with these, have delicious South Indian Thali.
Renting rooms won’t be a problem but you should make sure it is not a temple festive season. During the normal season, you will find numerous hotels and lodges for different price ranges near the temple.
Visit the powerful and divine temple and find out what are the other “Chidambara Rahasym” hidden in the temple by yourself.
Further Reading– If you are interested in spiritual topics, I have another article and travel guide dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, please check out the Tirupati travel guide.
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