February 14, 2011

A rare temple of Lord Nataraj in Chennai

All South Indian devotees know about the famous Chidambaram Nataraj temple. In all South Indian Shiva temples, you would find a separate shrine for Nataraj, Lord Shiva in the dancing form. However, apart from Chidambaram temple, it is very rare to find a dedicated temple for Lord Nataraj. When I came to know about this unknown temple of Nataraj in Chennai, I was really surprised.

In Choolai area of North Chennai in South India,this temple is located. This is a small temple built around 150 years back by a Nataraja devotee, who couldn't visit Chidambaram town frequently. You can find this temple near Choolai Post Office. Nataraj is named as Chidambareswarar in this temple.

Choolai Chidambareswarar temple is very small having Nataraj and Sivakami in the main shrine. Important and unique feature of the temple is to have the stone idols of Nataraj and Sivakami. Generally, only utsav (processional/metal) idols of Nataraj is found in the other temples.

Idols of Ganesha and Shiva Linga are found below the sthala vruksha (Sacred tree). There are small idols of Govindarajan with his two consorts and his mount Garud found iin the prakara. The corridor (prakara) has the shrine of the Goddess Umaiyammai. There is a separate shrine for Tirumoolanathar (Shiv Linga) with Ambal (Goddess). Dakshinamurti, Chandikeswarar, Navagraha, and Durga idols are also found in the temple. There is a small shrine for Ganesha along with Murugan, Valli, and Devasena.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Chidambareswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Choolai,Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A rare temple dedicated to Lord Nataraj
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Chennai is reachable by road, train, and flight; Choolai is very near to Chennai central railway station; easily reachable by road
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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