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Chidambaram

city, east-central Tamil Nadu state, southeastern India. It is situated in the fertile Coleroon River valley, on the Madras-Thanjavur (Tanjore) road and rail system. The city supports silk and cotton handloom weaving and garment industries but is primarily a food-processing centre. Its name is derived from the Tamil words citt ("wisdom") and ampalam ("atmosphere") and refers to the Hindu temple dedicated to the god Siva as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. The temple contains the famous early Cola (2nd century BC) bronzes. It is entered by lofty tower gates (see ), and its hall is supported by more than 1,000 pillars. The city is the seat of Annamalai University and is a centre of Hindu religious education. Pop. (1991 prelim.) 58,927.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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