The Nataraja Temple is the most celebrated of the south India saivite Temple. This was built during the eleventh century. Lord Nataraja is the family deity of Vikrama Chola who was the ruler in 1128. His successors also used to follow this god. He spent the bulk of his revenue for construction of the walls and addition of the structure of the temple. He also made costly gifts in gold to the structure.
Chidambaram became popular due to its proximity to Gangaikonda cholarapuram built and made as the capital of the imperial Cholas by Rajendra Chola. Inscriptions and Tamil literature like Raja Raja Chola Ula and Takkayagappari give detailed accounts of the temple and the munificent contribution of the Chola kings in gold to wrap the holy place and the famous hall. The temple located in the middle of the municipal town sprawls in an area of 40 acres. Inside the walls there are four Gopurams or Towers present that are embellished with numerous sculptures. They represent various religious scenes and fables and stories. The East Gopuram, which is the main entrance, is the oldest while the West Gopuram is more attractive and outstanding. The tallest is 42.4 meters above sea level and 140 feet above the ground level.
The inner enclosure is the most sacred and has four of five Sabhas. The Nrithya Sabha, the Hall of Dance is the most beautiful and interesting part of the temple. The Sivakami temple, the sivagami tank and the Hall of thousand pillars are important features of temple. These are seen and praised by lot of tourists every year.
The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of five elements and is known as Akasa Lingam. The great three Tamil saints Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar have visited the temple. Their hymns praise the temple and Divine Dancer, Lord Nataraja.
The Nataraja image in its various forms really holds the devotee as well as the tourist in exaltation. One may not believe in god but anyone who believes in art of beauty can come here and enjoy the place.
Thirupathiripuliyur in Cuddalore district is one of the ancient saivite shrines in Tamil nadu. This place is sanctified by the visit of two of the four chief nayanmars viz. Thirunavukkarasar and Thirugnanasambandhar. The former part of the name of this sacred place indicates the sthalaviruksha Pathiri Tree and the latter Puliyur indicates the tiger legged saint who made penance in this place.
The Presiding Deity Lord Pataleeswarar is also known as Thondra Thunai Nadhar and the Goddess is named Periyanayaki Amman. This holy place is a very ancient one held in high devotion by the saivites. The devotees take the place as a place of worship. According to the inscriptions found in the temple and rendered in modern Tamil by the Department of Archeology, the history of this temple could be traced to the periods of paranthaga Chola, First Rajarajan, First Rajendren, First Kulothungan, Vikrama Chola and also by the kings of Pallava and Pandiya dynasties. This Pandiya Dynasty had performed renovation works from time to time in this temple and also made grants and gifts for the upkeep of this temple.
The Philanthropic "Thee So" family of Pudukkotai Nagarathar, renovated this temple and performed Kumbhabhishekam in 1917.
Tiruvaheendirapuram is the Sacred Abode of Lord Devanatha. This is regarded as one of the ancient Vaishnavite temples. This can also called as one of the 108 Vaishnavite shrines sanctified by the visit of the great Alwars and Acharyas, held in great respect by the devotees. The Alwar who has sung about this celestial place is Sri. Thirumangai Mannan, otherwise known as Sri. Parakala. This place is one of the two Nadunattu Tirupathis. It is situated 7 km west of Tirupapuliyur or Cuddalore New Town Railway Station. It is in the Chennai- Trichirapalli main line of the Southern Railway. This ancient temple is situated in between the sacred Oushadhagiri Hill and Garuda Nathi or River Gadilam. This river is considered to be as holy as River Ganges. The name of this river is Utharavahani. The name fits it as it flows towards North in this sacred place.
The Presiding deity of this temple is Lord Devanatha. He is known by several other names. Some of them are given below: Dasa Satyar, Deivanayagan, Achuta, and Mevoojothi etc. Lord Devanatha is in trinity form here at this place. This is because of the fact that he gave darsan to Chola king in trinity form i.e. Sri Brahma, Sri. Vishnu and Sri. Rudra. Thirumangai Alwar has sung 10 pasurams about Lord Devanatha and in one of which he refers to the Lord as 'Moovarahia Oruvan'. There is legend to tell us that Lord Devanatha acted to come down and take abode in this place in response to the prayers of Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra, Brugu, Markendeya, Prahlada, Boomidevi and others. Even now we can see the images of Markendeya and Booma devi in the holy place on either side of Lord Devanatha. The Presiding Deity Sri Devanatha is considered to be a twin deity of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. The importance of this is narrated in Prahbandapuranam, Skandapuranam and Brahanna rathyeeyam.
The Goddess worshipped in this temple is Sengamala Thayar or Hemabujavalli Godess Lakshmi, who incarnated Herself in the midst of a lotus flower in the form of a three-year-old child. She was brought up by Brugu Munivar. She gave her appellation 'Tharanga Mugua Nandhini' to indicate how she enjoyed watching the beauty of the waves of the sea nearby.
Lord Sri Rama in his grand form has been sung by Sri Desika in his Raghuweera Gadyam, as the one and only Mahaveera.
This temple is regarded as a very holy place as well as sacred one for devotees because of the special association of the great Vaishnavite Acharya Sri Nigamantha Maha Desika. He had born in 13th century. Sri. Desika chose to stay here for about 40 years. The divine beauty of the presiding Deity of this ancient temple and the place magnetized him. There is a temple to Lord Lakshmi Hayagriva i.e. Mahavishnu with horse face in the Hill which is not found anywhere else in the country.
Here the Lord gives darshan in standing posture as Devanatha, in sitting posture as Ahindrapuranatha and in Sayana Tirukolam or Lying Posture as Palli kondanathar. There are separate places of worship within this temple for Sri Rama, Sr. Rajagopalan, Sri. Venugopalan, Smt. Andal, Sri. Chakkarathalvar, Alwars and Desika.
Srimushnam is located at the distance of 31 kms from Chidambaram. Srimushnam is the famous Vaishnava temple of Bhuvaraha. This is one of the eight Vaishavas shrines. The image in the temple is self-created that is known as Swayam Vyakta representing Varaha Avatar. The original image in marble was taken away by Krishna Deva Wodeyar of Mysore and installed it at Srirengapattinam. The front Mandapam is usually called as Purushasukara Mandapam. This was built in the 17th century that looks like a chariot with elegantly carved figures of warriors riding the horses and elephants. The Nayakas who built the temple are illustrated in carved royal portraits on the pillars in the center of the hall. This temple is well visited by the numerous numbers of devotees everyday.
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