Arulmigu Swaminatha Swamy Temple - Tourist Place
It is located 4 km(2.5 Miles) west of Kumbakonam, was built by the Chola King, Rajaraja II. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, who is Airavateshvara, the “Lord of Airavata”. Legend claims that after Airavata, the white elephant of Indhra, the God of the Heavens, regained his lost colour, he worshipped Shiva at this spot.
The four-tiered temple has a Sanctum and three halls, of which the finest is the Raja-Gambira Mandapa conceived as a stone chariot drawn by caparisoned horses with Brahma as its driver. The outer walls have fine friezes and carvings of musicians, dancers and acrobats as well as depictions from the Periya Puranam, a Tamil treatise on 63 Shaivite poet-saints, the Nayannars.
It is located 8 km (5 miles) Northeast of Kumbakonam, is dedicated to Kumbheswara, the “God who removes Fear”. This is also an old silk weaving centre. Kambaharesvarar Temple was built by the King Kulothunga III (1179 AD - 1216 AD). There are two Gopurams and two Praharams,the Karpagraham, Artha Mandapam, Maha Mandapam, Muha Mandapam and Somaskandar Mandapam.The Karpagraham is in the shape of square. It's both sides are having Karnathuvara steps. Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbhavar and Bramma reside on the wall of Sri Vimana.There are six base of Srivimana. One can see sculptures of the scenes of Puranas on the wall of Srivimana. Some of other shrines are in the temple. It is the 13th century Chola temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram :
It is one of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, built in the Chola style. Gangai Konda Chola Puram, “The City of the Chola who took the Ganges”, was the capital of powerful Chola dynasty during the reign of Rajendra I.Rajendra I, was the first Tamil ruler to venture Northwards and a great military commander like his father Rajaraja I. He built this city to commemorate his successful campaign across the Ganges.
Brihadishwara Temple :
It is 35 km North of Kumbakonam. It was built by the Chola emperor Rajendra I. Later additions were made in the 15th century by the Nayaks. It was built as a replica of Thanjavur’s Brihadishvara temple by his father Rajaraja I, the towered sanctum of this granite Shiva temple is shorter than the one at Thanjavur. It is indeed a great feat of engineering. All the more as the construction, was done in such a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground.The sanctum sanctorum has a four meter high lingam with a circumference of 7 meters. The inner walls of the temple have the many mudras (poses) of Bharatnatyam (classical Indian dance) portrayed by dancing damsels. Perhaps the sculptors did this as Shiva, the presiding deity is also the God of Dance (Natraja).
About 80 km south of Chidambaram, Tranquebar was a Danish post, established 1620. The seafront Danesborg Fort was occupied by the British in 1801. It houses a small but fascinating Museum on aspects of Danish history here. It takes 2 ½ hours from Chidambaram to reach this place. There is no accommodation here.
Timing : Saturday to Thursday from 10 am -1 pm & 2 - 5.45 pm
Calimere Wildlife & Bird Sanctuary :
This 333 sq km sanctuary also known locally as Kodikkarai, 90 km southeast of Thanjavur.It is noted for its vast flocks of migratory waterfowl, Calimere’s tidal mud flats are home to teals, shovellers, curlews, gulls, terns, plovers, sandpipers, shanks and herons from November to January. The easiest way to get to Calimere is from Vedaranniyam, 12km away and the nearest town linked by frequent buses to Nagapattinam or Thanjavur.
Sacred Chidambaram, where Shiva is believed to have performed his cosmic dance, the tandava nritya, is a triditional temple town where history merges with mythology to create a deeply religious ambience. All ancient Hindu beliefs and practices are zealously observed here, mainfested in an endless cycle of rites and rituals.
The focal point of the town is the awe - inspring Nataraja Temple, built by the Cholas in the 9th century to honour their patron deity, Shiva as Nataraja, the "Lord of Dance". The temple has an unusual hut - like sanctum with a gold - plated roof, the huge, colonnaded Shivaganga Tank, and four colourful gopuras.
The most interesting is the eastern gopura which features detailed sculptures the 108 hand and feet movements of Bharat Natyam and is considered a veritable encyclopaedia of this classical temple dance. Within the temple's three enormous enclosures are five major halls (sabhas), each conceived for a speacial purpose. In the outer encloser, next to the Shivaganga Tank, is the Raja Sabha ("Royal Hall"), a beautiful thousand - pillared hall, built as a venue for temple rituals and festivals.
Many Chola kings were crowned here in the presence of the deity. In the central enclosure is the Deva Sabha ("Divine Hall"), where the temple bronzes are housed, and administrative functions performed. The adjacent Nritya Sabha ("Divine Hall") has a superb collection of sculptures, the finest being the Rudhra Tandava. The innermost enclosure, the holiest part of the complex, contains the Chit Sabha or Chitambaram ("Hall of Bliss"), from which the town derive its name. This is the main sanctum, housing one of the five elemental lingas of Shiva the akasha linga, which represents ether, the all - pervading element central to human existence.
The inner santum containing the linga is hidden behind a black curtain, symbolizing ignorance, which is removed only during prayer time. There is a certain aura of mystery to this valied sanctum and it is often called the Sacred Secret of Chidambaram (Chidambara Rahastam). Finally, the fifth hall, in front of the Chit Sabha, is the Kanaka Sabha ("Golden Hall"), where Shiva is supposed to have performed his cosmic dance.
Other areas of interest in the complex are the Govindarajaswamy Shrine, housing the reclining Vishnu, the Shivakamasundari Shrine, dedicated to Shiva's consort, Parvati, and Subramaniyam Shrine, in which Murugan is worshipped. Religious traditions in the temple are preserved by a group of hereditary priests whose ancestors came to Chidambaram 3,000 years ago. Known as the dikshitars, they are easily recognized by their top - knots. Chidambaram's other claim to fame is the modern Annamalai University, which is located to the east. Founded by a philanthropist over 50 years ago, it is Tamil Nadu's first residential university, specializing in South Indian studies.