The Nataraja Temple is about 43 km from Cuddalore and 45 km from Neyveli. The temple is located in the center of Chidambaram town and covers an area of 40 acres. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. This is the temple of the Cosmic Dancer, where the presiding deity is called Nataraja. This temple has five halls, of which two-the Kanaka Sabha and the Chit Sabha-have gold-plated roofs. The main icon of Nataraja is in the Kanaka Sabha. One of the significant aspects of the temple is that there is no image of god in the Chit Sabha, which houses the Akasa lingam. This to signify that God exists in vacant space too. The Nritta Sabha or the Hall of Dance is the most beautiful and remarkable of the five halls, built in the form of a chariot on wheels drawn by horses. There are 56 pillars in the hall depicting the 108 poses of Bharat Natyam, the classical dance of Tamilnadu.
The Deva Sabha was the Hall of Festivals and the Raja Sabha, which is a thousand-pillared pavilion, was the Celebration Hall of the Pandyas and Cholas who gathered here after every victorious campaign to thank the Lord. Adjacent to the Nataraja shrine is a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Govindaraja). There are also shrines dedicated to Subramaniya and Vinayaka. The Sacred tank is called Sivaganga.
The Thillaikaliamman Temple is on the northern end of the town Kopperunjingan, who ruled between AD 1229 and 1278, built this temple. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is said that Goddess Kali's anger did not subside even after killing the demon Tarakasura. Hence, Lord Nataraja performed tandava dance to contain her anger. It is enjoined that all those who visit Chidambaram should pay a visit to Thillaikaliamman temple.
Other shrines to visit are Shivakama Sundari, Pandya Nayakam of Shanmuga, Karpaga Vinayaka, Navagraha Linga, Meenakshi Sundaresar, and Kumarakotta Murgan.
Sprawling over an area of three hundred acres is the Annamalai University, which is one of the foremost in the country. Founded in 1929, the university has grown from strength to strength. Both in the field of arts and science, the university has carved out a niche for itself. In technological fields like engineering and agriculture, the university has separate faculties. Recently medical and dentistry faculties have been added to it. The university has a department of music, which has been rendering yeoman service to Tamil music. As any other progressive university, it has a center for adult education and extension which functions viably in mass literacy programs and vocational training. A visit to the quaint little town of Chidambaram is a rich cultural experience that has attracted men and women down the ages. Its beautiful temple, the modern university, and the beautiful handicraft creations can leave one spellbound.
The town of Chidambaram is situated in the east-central part of Tamil Nadu state of southeastern India extending 11.24°N and 79.44°E. Chidambaram is in the Coleroon River Valley on the Madras-Thanjavur road and rail system.