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Chidambaram Tourism And Travel Guide
22° C / 71.6° F
December to February
3 to 5 Days
Puducherry Airport (66 kms)
Chidambaram Railway Station (1.5 kms)
Chidambaram, a temple town in Tamil Nadu in the south of India is revered as one of the most renowned Shaivite pilgrim centres of India. Chidambaram is one among the five Pancha Bhutha Sthala, where Shiva is in the form of Air and is imaged not as a Linga as he would always be, but as Nataraja the cosmic dancer.
All the mighty kingdoms that ruled over Tamil Nadu and beyond, had contributed to the growth of Chidambaram into a region rich in architectural, spiritual and cultural heritage. It’s quite amazing to ponder on the science and skills of the artisans that went into the construction of the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. Studies show that the 10th century temple stands on the focal point of the Earth’s magnetic equator, with the centre point right under Shiva’s foot! Visit Chidambaram to marvel at the architecturally wondrous temples and to explore the beaches, vestiges of colonial forts and the world’s second biggest mangrove forests!
If you would love to visit Chidambaram, our travel and tourism guide will help you chart out a memorable trip.
How to Reach
Chidambaram is a bustling tourist town and has direct and easy access by rail and road. The best way to reach the town would be by train.
The nearest is the Puducherry Airport which has flights to some cities in South India. The next major airport is the Tiruchirapalli airport that has a considerably wider choice of domestic and international flights. You could travel by cab or by bus from the airport to Chidambaram.
There are daily and weekly trains from major cities across the country and the towns down south. Most of the trains halt at all major tourist and pilgrim stations including Chidambaram, so the towns are far easily reachable by way of rail.
Private and state transport buses are available from most of the major towns and cities across south of India and Mumbai. Chidambaram is also easily accessible by the picturesque East Coast Road that wends its way from Chennai to Kanyakumari.
There are local minibuses, cabs and auto rickshaws for getting around town.
Weather and the Best time to Visit
Chidambaram has sultry tropical climates. As you can go in for boating and on travel tourism, its better you opt for a fine touristy season. The best months for a visit are from December to February.
Summer (March – May):
Summers are warm and humid, so you’d be spending more of the daylight hours indoors. You can venture out after sunset for exploring the town, as the evenings are cooler.
Monsoon (June – October):
There are light intermittent showers during southwest monsoon. Again, travel might be cumbersome. Northeast monsoon rains from October to December are heavier and make monsoon months off season for tourism.
Winter (December – February):
Winter months are not cold, but pleasant and mild and travel becomes easy especially during the months from January to March. Chidambaram bustles with activity, for Natyanjali, the dance festival that draws tourists towards Chidambaram during winter.
Things to Do
Built by Kulothunga Chola 1 in 1113 AD, the Amrithakadeshwara temple has a remarkable architectural style. The vimana is an example of a Karak Kovil, a structure built in the pattern of a chariot drawn by horses. Melakadambur is 31 km from Chidambaram.
Mangrove Bay Camp:
Learn Kayaking and paddleboard surfing at the backwaters of Kollidam River at Mangrove Bay Camp in Chidambaram. You can get accommodation as well.
Enjoy the Beaches:
The Silver Beach at Devanampattinam is one of the longest beaches on the Coramandel coast and one of the longest in Asia as well. You have the options of going on boat or horse rides. Check out the ancient light house and the play area for kids. Take a break to visit the beautiful Poompuhar beach (46 km) at Nagapattinam.
An ancient Shiva temple well known for its architectural splendour, the temple is located in one of the quieter parts of Chidambaram and gives you plenty of time to spend in blissful solitude.
Just about 42 km from Chidambaram is the district of Mayiladuthurai, which is another pilgrim town as well. Visit the Mayuranathaswamy Temple for Shiva, where the Mayura Thandava (dance of the peacock) was enacted by Shiva.
Bhuvarahaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu in his avatar as a boar, should be a must visit on your trip to Chidambaram. An ancient temple with beautiful architecture and with contributions from Medieval Cholas and Thanjavur Nayaks, this monument is a standing representation of Hindu-Muslim unity.
From the small cafes near the temples to the larger restaurants, you get a good choice of places to eat at. Chidambaram is the kind of town where you would get a lot of traditional goodies like halwas, spicy crunchy nibbles and hot filter coffee. You could take a saunter round town and might probably stumble upon one of those nondescript little messes selling hot halwas and bajjis wrapped in a fresh green leaf. Washed down with a coffee from a steel tumbler, it’s an evening well spent. For meals and breakfast you could try places like Udipi Krishna Vilas, Sri Krishna Vilas and Palagaram.com for both south and north Indian food veggie fare, New Murthy Café, Kamala Vilas and Anupallavi multicuisine for non veggie food and Sri Shanmuga Vilas Sweets and Restaurant or Muruga Mudaliar and Sons for piping hot sweets wrapped in leaves and savouries, too!
Beyond the cultural extravaganza of the Natyanjali Dance Festival, Chidambaram celebrates the Arudhra Thiruvadhirai (December-January), Thai Poosam (January), Maha Shivaratri (February) and Aani Thirumanjaman (June). It’s wonderful to watch the whole town gearing up with gusto to participate in the religious and cultural celebrations. If you are in Chidambaram in May, you might visit Cuddalore for the 5 day Neithal Kodai Vizha (Summer Festival) which keeps tourists entertained with boat and horse rides, exhibitions and sand sculpture shows at the Silver Beach. The Beach’s about 44 km from Chidambaram.