View of the Pagoda of Chelimbaram [Chidambaram] 82-b-3
Artist: Swain Ward, Ensign F.
Medium: Ink wash on paper
Drawing by F. Swain Ward in c.1762, with a view of the stepped tank or reservoir of the temple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu and one of its gopurams in the background, part of King George III's Topographical Collection. The town of Chidambaram is a great religious and artistic centre of south India. The temple here is dedicated to Shiva in his form as Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer. The earliest parts of the temple complex date from the 12th century, in the time of the Chola kings, devotees of Nataraja. They held their coronation ceremonies here. The temple lies within four walled enclosures, raised in different periods. Some of the most splendid structures of Chidambaram are the four lofty gopurams (towers) of the third walled enclosure, built in the 12th century but with later renovations. The gopurams mark the cardinal points and act as gateways to the temple. The Shivaganga Tank is a prominent feature of the third enclosure and has a colonnaded gallery on four sides.