Plan Your Weekend: Pristine beaches, shrines make Cuddalore a traveller’s paradise

Renowned for its picturesque beaches, lakes and pilgrimage spots, Cuddalore which is the headquarters of Cuddalore district, holds an unparallel charm for tourists. It is a large industrial city and first rose to prominence during the reign of Pallavas and medieval Cholas. The city is chosen by those who seek holidays amid nature and shrines.
Plan Your Weekend: Pristine beaches, shrines make Cuddalore a traveller’s paradise

Chennai

Pichavaram: It consists of a number of islands scattering a vast expanse of water covered with mangrove forest. Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is one of the largest mangrove forests in India covering about 1,100 hectares of area. The mangroves attract migrant and local birds including snipes, cormorants, egrets, storks, herons, spoonbills and pelicans. About 177 species of birds belonging to 15 orders and 41 families have been spotted there.

Pataleeswarar Temple: Built during the 7th century, this temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most prominent landmark in Cuddalore. The Saivite saint Appar is believed to have adopted Saivism at this temple. It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams. There is a belief that by worshiping this god once is equal to worshipping Shiva in Kasi Viswanathar Temple 16 times, eight times in Thiruvannamalai, and three times in Chidambaram.

Silver Beach: Located 2 km from downtown Cuddalore, it is one of the longest beaches in Asia. To the south of the beach, the South Cuddalore Bay area appears as if it is a separate island. The backwater separating the main beach from the island-like structure is a safe place for water sports.

Fort St David: The ruins of Fort St David stand witness to the history of Cuddalore. As a small fort built by a Hindu merchant, it was occupied by the Marathas after the capture of Gingi by Shivaji in 1677. The British purchased it from them in 1690, which also included the adjacent towns and villages. A great gun was fired to different points of the compass and all places within its range, including Cuddalore, came under the possession of the British. The villages thus obtained are still termed as Cannon Ball Villages.

Devanathaswamy Temple: Nestled on the edge of Gadilam River in Cuddalore, this celebrated temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. Though the presiding deity is Devanathaswamy, the temple is known for Hayagriva, the horse-faced avatar of Vishnu. The temple is the only historical temple in south India to have a shrine of Hayagriva.

Veeranam Lake: It is one of the water reservoirs from where water is supplied to Chennai city. The length of the lake is 14 km and this is the largest lake in Tamil Nadu. The credit goes to ancient people who have done this job with handmade tools. The opening chapter of the book Ponniyin Selvan is set on the banks of the Veera Narayana Lake. Kalki gives an elaborate description of the features of the lake and the way multiple rivers flow into the lake.

Location: Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu
Distance from Chennai: 170km
Interesting fact: It is believed that if you pray at Pataleeswarar Temple in Cuddalore once, it is equal to worshiping the Shiva in Kasi Viswanathar Temple 16 times, eight times in Thiruvannamalai, and three times in Chidambaram.

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