Monday, May 12, 2008

Chidambaram Divya Desam

Listening to Kulasekara Azhvaar's paasurams on Chitrakoodathullan is said to be equivalent to listening to the entire Ramayana
Natarajar and Govindaraja Perumal housed in the same temple complexVishnu is said to have watched the dance duel between Shiva and Parvathi

Located 215 kms South of Madras at the entrance of the erstwhile Chola kingdom, Thiru Chitrakoodam temple in Chidambaram is home to both Saivite and Vaishnavite Lords- similar to Ekaambareswar and Kaamakshi temples ( in Kanchipuram.

In years gone by, the direction to Thiru Chitrakoodam was given as North of the Cauvery, East of Sri Mushnam ( Aathi Varaahan temple) and West of the Bay of Bengal.
This place is also referred to as Thillai Nagar, Chitrakoodam and Pundarika Puram.

It is believed that Cauvery’s parents undertook penance at this place uttering the name of Govinda. And were blessed with Moksham. Hence this Lord came to be called Govindarajan. One can see the Lord in 3 postures here- Standing, Sitting and in Bhoga Sayanam.

The Story
Once Nataraja (Shiva) and Thillai Kaali (Paarvathi) decided to display their dancing expertise and to see who had better skills among the two. Shiva looked up to Brahmma for his judgment, who asked them to perform at Thiru Vaalan Kaadu. Unable to come to a decision, Brahmma directed them to Vishnu, who created a dance sabha in Chitrakoodam, for the two to display their prowess here.

Vishnu is believed to have come down here and witnessed the dance contest between Shiva and Parvathi. With Shiva’s earring falling down, the audience believed that Shiva had lost. But Shiva, continuing his dance, picked up the earring with his leg and put it back in the ear while continuing to dance - Oorthuva Thaandam. Parvathi couldn’t match this and Vishnu judged Shiva the winner.

Vishnu was greatly impressed with Shiva’s dancing capabilities and enjoyed Nataraja’s dance duel with Thillai Kaali. Hence, Govindarajan is seen in a sleeping posture with his face directed towards Nataraja in the Northern direction. All forms of dance can be seen in art form within this temple.

Chidarambaram Rahasyam
One can see the Chidambaram Rahasyam (the Lord in the ‘form of a Yantram’) inside the sanctum of Nataraja, to his right. The Chidambaram Rahasyam is covered with a screen and is shown to devotees at regular intervals.

Two separate temples
In earlier days, there seems to have been separate temples for Vishnu and Shiva. This can be seen in Azhvaar’s praise of Thillai Chitrakoodam.

There is said to have been a Nataraja temple known as Chitraambalam. Siru Ambalam signified that the Nataraja temple was small and Chitrakoodam (the Vishnu Lord) was the bigger temple. Chozha kings are believed to have destroyed the Vishnu temple and reconstructed the Nataraja temple and then positioned the Vishnu temple inside.

There is a seperate sannidhi for the Goddess

Azhvaar Praise
Thirumangai Azhvaar has praised, in his verse Pallavas' contribution to this temple.

“பைம்  பொன்னும் முத்தும் மணியும் கொணர்ந்து 
படை மன்னவன்  பல்லவர் கோன் பணிந்து
செம்பொன் மணி மாடங்கள் சூழ்ந்த
தில்லைத் திருச்சித்ரா கூடம் சென்று சேர்மின்களே

Paraanthaka Chozha is also said to have contributed to this temple in the 10th Century AD.

Listening to Kulasekara Azhvaar's praise of the Chitrakoodam Lord is equivalent to listening to the entire Ramayana. Natha Muni, the great Vaishnavite Savant was born near here, at Kattu Mannar koil.

Unique Occurrence

In the temple tank, on the northern side, fishes come out of the water and on to the ground to pick up eatables thrown in by the devotees.

Vasantha Utsavam
Aadi Pooram
Panguni Uthiram
Chitra Pournami

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Govinda Rajan East facing Bhoga Sayanam
Goddess   : Pundarikavalli
Utsavar    : Devaathi Devan, Paarthasarathy, Chitrakoodathullan
Azhvaar   : 32 Paasurams- Kulasekhara Azhvaar and Thiru Mangai Azhvaar

Timing      : 6am –12noon and 4pm-9pm
Contact    :  AV Rangachariar @ 94423 88820 / 04144 220425

How to reach Chidambaram
By car, one can reach Chidambaram in under 4 hours from Madras via East Coast Road.
Buses every 15 minutes from Madras via Tindivanam, Cuddalore

Daily trains from Chennai Egmore to Chidambaram including a day express.


krishna said...

Excellent stuff. Had been there over the weekend. Will make it a point to see all your blogs before going to any temples in future. Thank you

Prabhu.S said...

Thanks Krishnan:)for reading and the comment


Unknown said...

it's really punya karyam you have done to keep all srivaishnavas in reaching perumal kovil

PRabhu S said...


Thank You for the kind words