Leisure Places

The Natyanjali dance festival at Chidambaram brings together all the prominent dancers of India. They offer their abhinaya and their dance to the Lord Nataraja. To many of them it is like a dream come true, to be able to perform in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja's temple, whose padams and varnams they often use creating an imaginary figure of the Lord. This festival opens on the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day and of course in the right kind of venue, which is the Prakara of the Chidambaram temple.

The Kalrayan Hills are a major range of hills situated in the Eastern Ghats of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Along with the Pachaimalai, Javadi, and Shevaroy hills, they separate the Kaveri River basin to the south from the Palar River basin to the north. The hills range in height from 2000 feet to 3000 feet and extend over an area of 1095 square kilometres. Some 40 km from the south end of Javadi Hills starts the Kalvarayan Hill range. The name kalvarayan has come from native people "kalvar".This hill range brings much more rainfalls to the eastern part of its surrounding areas during northwest monsoon.River Thenponnaiyar divides this Hill range from Javadi Hills in north.And continued as Shervarayon Hills further southwest divided by Manchavaadi Pass.River Komuki originate from this range and drowns into Bay of Bengal alongside with river Cauvery.

These hills are situated 150 kms. Northwest of Chidambaram, and spread over an area of 600 sq.kms. These hills offer a temperate climate and quiet solitude. There is a botanical garden on these hills. These hills also have two waterfalls. The area is ideal for those interested in trekking. A summer festival is also held in the month of May every year.

Neyveli, Home of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, is today India's energy –bridge to the 21-century and a fulfillment of Pandit Nehru's vision. Incidentally Pt.Nehru and NLC share a common birthday (14.11.1956) Pt.Nehru launched a mining operations with his golden touch in May 1957. Even since, there has been no looking back. NLC has achieved the objectives it has set for itself. Fulfilling its corporate mission to be the leader in the industry. Computing of two open cast mines, two pit head Thermal Power Stations, Briquetting & Carbonisation plant and a Fertilizer Plant, NLC's growth is sustained and its contribution to India's social and economic development is significant. A pioneer among the public sector undertakings in energy sector,All the Mines and Power stations of NLC are ISO Certified for Quality Management System, Environmental Management System and Occupational Health & Safety Management System.

Pichavaram is located near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, in South India. The nearest railway station is Chidambaram from where it is accessible by road.

Pichavaram mangrove forest is located between two prominent estuaries, the Vellar estuary in the north and Coleroon estuary in the south. The Vellar - Coleroon estuarine complex forms the Killai backwater and Pichavaram mangroves.The backwaters, interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon river systems, offer abundant scope for water sports such as rowing, kayaking and canoeing. The Pichavaram forest not only offers waterscape and backwater cruises, but also another very rare sight the mangrove forest trees are permanently rooted in a few feet of water Pichavaram (MadBoon) has a well-developed mangrove forest. Pichavaram consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with green trees. The area is about 1100 Hectare and is separated from the sea by a sand bar.

The Pichavaram mangroves attract an appreciable bird population of residents, local migrants and true migrants.At the mangroves, so far, 177 species of birds belonging to 15 orders and 41 families have been recorded. The season for birds is from September to April every year. Peak population of birds could be seen from November to January. This is due to high productive nature (in terms of prey organisms) of the ecosystem and coincidence of the time of arrival of true migrants from foreign countries and local migrants from their breeding grounds across India.

Parangipettai historically called Porto Novo ("New Port" in Portuguese), is a panchayat town in Cuddalore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Parangipettai is located on the north bank of the mouth of the Vellar river at a distance of 30 km from Cuddalore..

Due to its strategic location on the Coromandel Coast, Parangipettai has long been a major trading centre. In particular, it was an important trading destination for the Arabs, especially the Yemenis. During the colonial era the Portuguese, Dutch and English successively colonized the area.

Today, Parangipettai has evolved into a well-developed town with nearly all basic necessities such as healthcare, education and transport. It also hosts a Marine Biology Station affiliated with the Annamalai University. Parangipettai is an important pilgrimage centre for both Hindus and Muslims

Museums & Art Galleries

Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint by Lahiri Mahasaya and several of his disciples who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. Some of these meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a yogi, including a first hand telling of Yogananda's own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji. Another first hand account was given by Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science.All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies of those mentioned by Yogananda.
Mahavatar Babaji's given name is unknown, so those who met him during that period all called him by the title first given to him by Lahiri Mahasaya."Mahavatar" means "great avatar", and "Babaji" simply means "revered father". Some of the encounters included two or more witnesses—discussions between those who met Mahavatar Babaji indicate that they all met the same person.
According to Govindan's book, Babaji Nagaraj's father was the priest of the village's temple. Babaji revealed only those details which he believed to be formative as well as potentially instructive to his disciples. Govindan mentioned one incident like this: "One time Nagaraj's mother had got one rare jackfruit for a family feast and put it aside. Babaji was only 4 years old at that time. He found the jackfruit when his mother was not around and ate it all. When his mother came to know about it, she flew in blind rage and stuffed a cloth inside Babaji's mouth, nearly suffocating him, but he survived. Later on he thanked God for showing him that she was to be loved without attachment or illusion. His Love for his mother became unconditional and detached.
" When Nagaraj was about 5 years old, someone kidnapped him and sold him as a slave at Calcutta (Now Kolkata). His new owner however was a kind man and he freed Nagaraj shortly thereafter. Nagaraj then joined a small group of wandering sanyasin due to their radiant faces and love for God. During the next few years, he wandered from place to place, studying holy scriptures like the Vedas, Upanishad, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagvad Gita.


This is a residential university situated on the outskirts of Chidambaram. It was founded by the Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar. It is a great centre for Tamil learning and Carnatic music for many years.

Annamalai University is one of Asia's largest public residential universities located in Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. The university is spread across 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) acres in Chidambaram and offers courses of higher education in science, engineering, humanities, agriculture and arts.

The university also provides more than 500 courses through distance education. The Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) of Annamalai University offers education to those people who are unable to attend the campus but who desire to study. It is credited with the largest enrollment in India and is well equipped with computers and other infrastructure, separate teaching faculty and administration, study centers, and computer training centers to serve its students. It was the first institution in India to offer postgraduate degree programmes in Applied Psychology, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Bioinformatics and Law through distance education.

The Centre of Advanced Study (CAS) in Marine Biology is a reputed Marine Institute in India which is actively engaged in teaching, research and extension activities in Marine Sciences. The advantage of the Centre is the ideal location and easy access to different biotopes such as estuary, mangrove, backwaters and coastal waters. Despite being located 12 Km. away from the main campus Annamalai University in a rural setting, the Centre made rapid strides in various facets of Marine Science. This Centre, the brain child of the Eminent Scientist (Late) Prof. R.V. Seshaiya, was established during 1957 as a field laboratory for the Department of Zoology, Annamalai University at Parangipettai. The status of a separate department to this station was conferred by the Annamalai University in 1961. In October 1963, this department was recognized for its outstanding research contribution by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as the Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology and the Commission continues to extend generous assistance till-date.

The Centre has successfully completed more than 150 research projects and 48 research projects funded by various national and international funding agencies are in operation.
Recognising the expertise and excellent scientific achievements of the Centre, the United Nations University having its Head Quarters in Tokyo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Annamalai University to conduct Training Workshop on Methodologies for Assessing Biodiversity of Coastal Ecosystems from 2000 from trainees from developing Countries in Asia.
The Centre is offering diversified Academic Programmes (M.Sc.) such as Marine Biology & Oceanography, Coastal Aquaculture, Marine Biotechnology, Marine Food Technology, Marine Microbiology, Ocean Science & Technology, Marine Pharmacology and Marine Chemistry in the field of Marine Science.

Places of Worship

The temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique as it one of Panchabootha sthala in India - and it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary lingam.

A shrine to Govindaraja or Lord Vishnu lies adjacent to the main shrine and has a beautiful sculpture of the Lord Vishnu reclining on Adisesha - the serpent. There are other shrines, dedicated to Subramanya, Ganesha and Sivakami Amman - the consort of Lord Nataraja. In the courtyard, a large Nandi looks on devotedly at its lord and master through an aperture on the wall. A sprawling Sivaganga tank on the North is an attractive master piece of art and the thousand pillar hall are other attractions. .

The Thillai Kaliamman temple is an northern end of the town. It was built by Kopperunjingan who ruled between 1229 A.D and 1278 A.D.This Temple is on the outskirts of the city of Chidhambaram. Legend says that Lord Kaali moved here after losing to Lord Siva in the celestial dance contest. In order to resolve thus, they performed a dance program at Chidambaram in front of Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Points.

While they were playing dance, Lord Shiva was about to be defeated. But knowing fully well Lord Shiva played on "OORTHAVA THANDAVA" i.e. raising is leg above his head. This "OORTHAVA THANDAVA" is one of the posture in the dance. It could not be played by the women folk due to their modesty and shyness. In this Goddess Parvathi could not equally play this posture and agreed her defeat and she was go to the extreme end of the town. In order to contain her haughtiness and to teach a lesson that "Shivam & Shakthi" both are important in our life.

"Mother Shri Thillai Kali Amman" is a deity in anger. This anger was pacified by Lord Brahma by Chanting Veda and also praising her. Because of the penance of Lord Brahma 'Mother Thillai Kali' became Cool. So that Goddess 'Thillai Kali Amman' in this temple seems with four faces.

vaitheeswaran koil is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva located in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran or the "God of healing" and it is believed that prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. It is one of the nine Navagraha (nine planets) temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). The village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Naadi astrology in Tamil. This temple is constructed on a vast area, and the legend says that the presiding deity of this temple had healed the wounds sustained by the troupes of Lord Subramanya during a battle with a rakshasa. Thus there is a popular belief that worshiping in this temple will heal the wounds of the people. Women in large numbers visit this place to dispossess themselves of devils and evil spirits and pray for their weddings to take place. Vaitheeswaran is the healer of all diseases and it is believed that a bath in the holy water of the siddhamirtham tank or holy tank that is situated with in the temple complex cures all ailments.

: Virudhachalam is one of the 22 places of saivate pilgrimage in Tamilnadu. It is one of the place giving salvation to the departed. It is even considered holier than Holy Kasi i.e. Varanasi. People in the past believed that Pazamalainathar himself the presiding diety here used to ulter Panchatchara Mandiram into the ears of dead. Hence in olden days people of Virudhachalam never bothered to undertake a pilgrimage to Varanasi when they become old and weak. As a result this place is also come to known as Virudhakasi.

This temple has been constructed according to Agama Shastram and it has five Gopurams, five Praharams, five Nandhhi, five Kodimarm and five holy Cars.

Sri Thiruganasambhandar, Sri Thirunavukarasar, saint Sundrar had sung the golory of Pazhamalainathar.

It is to be noted that goddess is worshipped in the form of elderly lady called Periyayahi alias Virudhambihai. At this request of guru Namasivayar she also took the form of young women with the name Balambihai. Vannimaram is the Holy tree.

Srimushnam Located 31 kms from Chidambaram, Srimushnam, is famous for the Vaishnava temple of Bhuvaraha. This is one of the famous Vaishanavite shrines in the State. The image in the temple is believed to be swayam vyakta or self-created respresentating the varaha avatar.

The originals image in marble is said to have been taken away by Krishnadeva Wodeyar of Mysore and is said to be installed it at Srirengapattinam. The front mandapam called the purushasukra mandapam was built in the 17 century. It looks like a chariot with elegantly carved figures of warriors riding horses and elephants. The nayaks, who were the rulers and who built the temple are illustrated in carved royal portraits on the pillars in the centre of the hall.

Gangaikondacholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sumatra, Kadaram (Kedah in Malaysia) at the beginning of the 11th century A.D. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 A.D. for about 250 years, the city controlled the affairs of entire southern India, from the Tungabhadra in the north to Ceylon in the south and other south east Asian countries. The great temple of Siva at this place is next only to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality.The Gangaikondaan temple is an architectural and engineering marvel because the shadow of the main tower never falls on the ground throughout the year.The temple is noted for its massive and richly carved sculptures. A big Nandi in front of the temple made of brick and mortar, a lion head well with a flight of steps leading to the water level and the gigantic dwarapalakas are the other special features of this temple.