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Seven days through Tamil Nadu, from Mysore to Chidambaran in January 2007, and I'm getting a bit tired!

Chidambaran is on the eastern edge of the Cauvery River basin, the center of Tamil culture, and particularly that of the Chola Dynasties, when Tamil Indian religion and culture was exported throughout Southeast Asia. It is the traditional center of Tamil culture; literature, religion, pilgrimage, music, dance sculpture, Dravidian architecture and fesco painting. In Chidambaram there is only one main temple but it is very special temple indeed. It is the Nataraja Temple in honor of Siva Nataraja who first danced his cosmic dance of life and death here in Chidambaram! Up the river basin from here are hundreds of active temples expressing the vibrant Tamil Hindu culture.

The meaning of Chidambaram is 'conciousness of sky'. The Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram is dedicated to space, this element expressed as 'conciousness of sky'.

"Travellers are an enthusiastic lot. They do not mind any inconvenience as long as they have something to see.Why anyone should want to forgo food and comfort and jolt a hundred-odd miles to see some place, I could never understand, but it was not my business to ask for reasons; just as I did not mind what people ate or smoked in my shop, my business being only the supply and nothing more.

It seemed to me silly to go a hundred miles to see the source of the Sarayu River when it had taken the trouble to tumble down the mountnd come to our door. I had not even heard of its source till that moment; but the man who had gone was all praise for the spot. He said, 'I am only sorry that I did not bring my wife and mother to see the place.' Later in life I found that everyone who saw an interesting spot always regretted that he hadn't come with his wife or daughter, and spoke as if he had cheated someone out of a nice thing in life. Later, when I had become a full-blown tourist guide, I ofter succeded in inducing a sort of melancholia in my customer by remarking, 'This is somehing that should be enjoyed by the whole family,' and the man whould swear that he would be back with his entire brood in the coming season." From The Guide by R. K. Narayan

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