Chidambaram is famous for its Nataraj temple built by Chola and Vijaynagar kings between 11th and 14th centuries A.D. Lord Shiva here is worshipped in the form of Nataraj or Dancing Shiva. Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu is located at an approximate southward distance of 235 km from Chennai. Thanjavur, another important city of Tamil Nadu is located at a distance of about 100 km from Chidambaram. Trains and bus services connect Chidambaram to all parts of Tamil Nadu.
Chidambaram Nataraj Temple is a typical example of Dravidian architecture. The hut shaped `Chitsabha' is the holiest shrine built of wood and supported by wooden pillars. It houses the idols of Nataraja and Sivakami. In addition there also are the deities of Spakita Lingam of Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, Mukhalingam, Chandramauleeswara, Ratnasabhapati and so on.
The Kanaka Sabha or the Golden Hall is located facing the Chitsabha. Kanaka Sabha, the shrine of Govindaraja Perumaal is also hut shaped with gold plated roof. Nritta Sabha domiciling idols of Urdhva Shiva and Kaali in a dance duel is designed in the form of a horse drawn chariot. The Sivakami Amman temple and the Raja Sabha are other important shrines of Chidambaram temple.
The most impressive structures of Chidambaram Nataraj temple are the four gateways or gopurams. These intricately sculpted gateways located in four cardinal geographical directions have representations of Lord Shiva in different manifestations. Various stances of classical Bharat Natyam dance form are also carved along these gateways. The Northern gateway at 42 meters is the tallest followed by the Eastern gopuram which is 40 meters.
Bhrammotsavams or annual festivals attract large number devotees to Chidambaram. The most expansive festival is held for 10 days between 15th December and 15th January. The other festival is held in the Tamil month of Aani corresponding to the period from 15th August to 15th September.