In this edition of Monuments of India we bring you the Chidambaram temple famous for temple architecture situated at Chidambaram town and can be included for a visit while travelling between Pondicherry and Tanjore.
Chidambaram Temple located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram, 58 km south of Pondicherry dedicated to Lord Shiva. Chidambram temple surpasses the limits of architectural wonders and the Vishwakarma Brahmin stapathis should be eulogized in sculpting this architectural masterpiece. In Hindu literature, Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). The other four temples in this category are: Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire) and Kalahasti Nathar (wind).
A unique feature of this temple is the bejeweled image of Nataraja. It depicts the Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murthi( statue) rather than the classic, anionic Lingam. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolises the motion of the universe as sustained by Lord Shiva. The temple has five courts.