Location: In Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu
Also known As: Kuttalur
Hosts: An Ancient Seaport
Main Attractions: Cuddalore Port, Kattu Mannargudi, and Tiruppapuliyur
THE CITY OF CUDDALORE: Cuddalore also known, as "Kuttalur" is the headquarters of Cuddalore district. It lies in the northeastern part of Tamil Nadu State, on the Bay of Bengal coast. Its name is derived from Kuttal-ur ("junction town") and refers to its location near the junction of the Ponnaiyar River with its tributary, the Gadilam. These rivers flood frequently, causing damage to the city.
An ancient seaport was developed rapidly after the British East India Company obtained trading rights in 1682, but it later declined with the expansion of Madras (now Chennai). It now handles only a small percentage of Tamil Nadu's foreign trade, dealing almost exclusively with Malaysia and Singapore. Its fishing and shipbuilding industries are slowly growing. It is an important river port and a commercial center.
The Cuddalore Port is situated at the confluence of the rivers Gadilam and Paravanar discharging as combined river into the sea. The hinterland of Cuddalore Port consists of the district of Cuddalore and ports of Salem and Tiruchirappalli. The area is rich in minerals, having lignites at Neyveli, about 40-km from the port and iron ore deposits in Salem district.
Tiruppapuliyur: Tiruppatiripuliyur also known, as Tiruppapuliyur is located in Cuddalore New Town. The sacredness of the place is due to the divine effulgence by which spiritual attainment becomes easier. In Tiruppapuliyur, there is an old Shiva temple dedicated to Lord Pataleswarar.
Kattu Mannargudi: Mannargudi is a place of religious antiquity and legendary importance. The famous Vishnu temple at Mannargudi dedicated to Sri Rajagopalaswami was built by the Chola King Kulottunga I (1070-1120 AD). The temple is situated over an area of 6 acres of land that commands an imposing view and provides accommodation for thousands of devotees.
Thiruvahindrapuram: Thiruvahindrapuram, a calm village of the historical coastal town of Cuddalore, falls in the group of Nadu Nattu Tirupati among 108 Divya Desams. The temple of Lord Devanatha is flanked by the inspiring "Oushadagiri" an herbal drop from the hands of speeding Anjaneya to the battlefield of Lanka and the serpentine holy river Garuda Nadhi. Its importance has found place in three puranas, viz. Brahmandam, Brahannardiyam and Skandam.
The major festivals celebrated in this temple are Brahmotsavam in Tamil month Chitrai, Desikar festival in Puratasi and Masi makam (sea bath) at Devanampattinam, Vaikunta Ekadasi festival in Markazhi / Thai months
Pataleeswarar Temple: This temple dedicated to Pataleeswarar (Lord Shiva), has been in existence since the 7th century AD. The existing structure is largely a result of renovations from the 19th century. It has artistically carved pillars, which has been glorified by the poems of the Saivite Saints.
Chidambaram: Chidambaram is one of the most ancient and celebrated shrines in India located at a distance of 44-km from the Cuddalore city. It is of great religious as well as historic and cultural significance. Chidambaram is associated with Lord Nataraja or Shiva in his Ananda Tandava pose (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall and the hall of consciousness (Chit Sabha).
Annamalai University: Annamalai University is situated in Annamalai Nagar, which is at a distance of 47-km from Cuddalore. It is one of the greatest centers of Tamil learning and Carnatic music. The late Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar founded it.
Pichavaram: Pichavaram is located at a distance of 56-km from Cuddalore. It ranks among the most exquisite scenic spot with abundant and varied tourism resources. The backwaters, which are interconnected by the Vallar and Coleroon system, offer abundant scope for water sports -rowing, kayak and canoeing. The Pichavaram forest not only offer waterscape and backwater cruises but combines another very rare occurrence- the mangrove forest trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water. The Pichavaram mangroves are considered among the healthiest mangrove occurrence in the world.
Porto-Novo (Parangipettai): Porto-Novo, also called "Parangipettai", in Chidambaram Taluk (also spelt as Taluka), is situated on the north bank of the mouth of Vellar at a distance of 30-km from Cuddalore. Portuguese were the first European settlers of this place from whom it passed into the possession of the Dutch and finally handed it over to the English in 1824. This town has a large Muslim population engaged mostly in sea-trade. Tombs of several Muslim saints are situated in this place, most important among them being the dargah to Saint Malumiyar, Araikasu Nachiyar, Hafiz Mir Sahib and Sayed Saheb.
Tiruvakarai: Tiruvakarai village is situated at a distance of 50-km from Cuddalore. There are a number of petrified tree trunks, also called "fossil wood" in and around this village. There is also an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, dating back to the Chola period.
Vridhachalam: Vridhachalam is situated on the banks of the river Manimukthar at a distance of 60-km from Cuddalore. It has an ancient Shiva temple dedicated to "Lord Vridhagirishwarar" and his consort "Vridhambigai". Masi Magam is the important festival in this place when a large number of pilgrims flock to this place to have bath in the scared Manimukthar River.
Vadalur: Vadalur a major tourist attraction is situated at a distance of 34-km from Cuddalore. There is a Satayagnana Sabha popularly called as "Adigalar", an octagon shaped building, which was constructed by Ramalingaswamigal. The four great towers of Chidambaram temple are visible from this building. The sanctum of this temple is separated from the main hall by seven screens.
Srimushnam: Srimushnam situated at a distance of 60-km from Cuddalore, has a temple that is one of the eight self-created "swayamvyaktamkshetras" in the South. The presiding deity is Sri Bhuvarahaswami. The Purushaskuta Mandapam here is shaped like a ratham (car) on which there are carvings of warriors mounted on horses and elephants.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest international and domestic airport is at Chennai, located at a distance of 192-km. The travel time by road takes about 4 to 5 hours.
Rail: train directly from Chennai via Villupuram connects Cuddalore Thiruppapuliyur Railway Station.
Road: Cuddalore is well connected by road with the neighboring places of tourist interest. Tourist taxis, auto-rickshaws and city bus services are available for local transportation.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS: The major festivals celebrated at the temple in Thiruvahindrapuram are the Brahmotsavam in Tamil month Chitrai, Desikar festival in Puratasi and Masi Makam (sea bath) at Devanampattinam, and Vaikunta Ekadasi festival in Markazhi / Thai months
Masi Magam: Masi Magam is an annual festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month of Masi (February-March). Deities from in and around Cuddalore district are brought in ceremonial processions to the Ponnaiyar River for a symbolic immersion ceremony. Thousands of people go to the seashore to have a dip in the sea, which is said to wash away one's sins.
Fire Walking Festival: Local temples conclude their annual festivals with hundreds of men, women and children walking on fire for fulfillment of their vows.
|Temperature Range (deg C):
||Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu
Ariyalur - 101-km
Chidambaram - 40-km
Mahabalpuram - 108-km
Mannargudi - 93-km
Nagappattinam - 108-km