Chidambaram- The Temple Town
Chidambaram- The Temple Town4 mins 164 4 mins 164
We (my wife and me), wished to visit Chidambaram, in Tamil Nadu, once, from the day we saw the famous award-winning Malayalam film “Chidambaram” at the film festivals conducted at Mumbai, in 1985-86.
The film was directed by late G. Aravindan, the noted cartoonist turned Film Director. Bharat Gopi and Smita Patil played the major roles in the film. The marvelous architecture of the temple gates of the famous Nataraja temple, and the overall tranquility at the place shown in the film, gave a boost to us, to visit the place. It was a 10th-century structure, still in good shape.
Then the idea of visiting nearby places on the way to Chidambaram also struck our mind. But due to a shortage of time, we finally decided to visit Chidambaram only, postponing our visits to other places.
We arranged for a home-stay at the temple town, Chidambaram, quite near to the famous Nataraja Temple. We booked to and fro air ticket to Chennai from Mumbai and planned the journey to Chidambaram from Chennai, by bus run by the Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation.
We set out our journey as planned. We reached Chennai by 8 a.m. and caught a bus that was leaving for Kumbakonam. We got down at Chidambaram bus station and reached to our destination, ”Chidambaram spiritual”, the homestay, we booked on-line. We never expected such a wonderful stay there. The rooms were very spacious and well maintained.
After refreshing ourselves, we straight away went to the Nataraja temple. It was much crowded on the day of our visit, as maha aarti (Abhishekam) was going on. We were told that we were very fortunate enough to visit the temple on an auspicious day, as it was a yearly event taking place, when residents of the place, who were settled elsewhere, visited their ancestral home and paid visits to the great temple to take the blessings of Lord Shiva.
The temple has four gates, all of which are having the sculptures of many gods and goddesses, painted in multi-colors. They looked more beautiful in the evening. The gates were so tall that we have to stand a little far, to enjoy the real beauty of them.
There was a big courtyard once you enter the temple. The sand was seen over the whole area, except in the passage, for devotees to walk on. The main idol is of Lord Shiva in the temple. The golden colored-roof of the Sanctorum was shining in the bright sunlight.
The whole atmosphere was filled with the smell of camphor and other items being burned for the ritual that was going on for hours. Maharaj's (Poojarees), both young and old were busy, chanting mantras in Sanskrit. Loudspeakers were connected to the mikes before which the chanting was going on. People could not hear anything other than the chanting when you are near the burning fire.
There were counters for prasad distribution. Prasad in different varieties was available at a nominal cost, but the temple authorities never compromised on the quality of their products. We also bought a few packets containing all items, neatly packed in a non-plastic bag, for distributing to our neighbors.
We came back soon from the temple and went to see the famous “Pichhavaram mangrove forests” which was about 20 kilometers. away. We had hired a boat at the location and the driver took us for a ride, going through the mangrove forests, which was a wonderful experience. It was a scenic location for film shooting. Though the rivulet was not so deep, the area is marshy.
It is believed that it was because of the mangrove forests, the people of the village did not suffer from the “Sunami”, the great floods of 2004, which caused the death of many.
After the ride, we had lunch and came back to our place. After 5.00 pm, we again went to the temple, to have the darshan of Lord Shiva. (in the dancing pose, i.e. of Nataraja ).
While many people were coming out from the temple after the Maha aarti, many were going inside again to have darshan of the Lord, making no chance for a stampede. We had a good time, spending inside the temple compound, roaming around, enjoying the marvelous architecture.
Around 9 pm, we came back from the temple, took dinner and had a nice sleep. The next day early morning, we started our journey back to Chennai.
We came back to Mumbai in the evening flight, fulfilling our long wish of visiting Chidambaram, the temple town.