Sri Thillai Kali Temple is situated at Chidambaram Town at about three to four kilometers from Sri Nataraja Temple. This Kali temple is dedicated for the worship of Sri Kali, one of the manifestations of Sri Durga Devi.
It is believed that this temple was built in 13th Century C.E by Sri Kodava Koperunchingan. The main Deity Sri Kali is also called as Sri Pidariyar, Sri Thillai Vanam Udaya Paremeshwari and Thillai Thiruchitrambala Mahakali.
As per the legend, once there was a dancing contest between Sri Shiv and Sri Parvathi. What commenced as playful became ferocious as each wanted to portray supremacy. Sri Parvathi had excelled each of the dance moves of Sri Shiv. When He did Urdhva Thandav, he had lifted His leg above His head but Sri Parvathi could not lift Her leg beyond a limit. She had admitted defeat.
However, She got angry and left the place assuming the form of Kali. Sri Brahma had pacified Her by chanting Vedas. She had assumed the pacified form with four heads and is called as Sri Brahma Chamundeswari.
There are two main shrines for Sri Kali in this temple. The west facing Shrine has Sri Kali as Santha Swaroopini in the form of Sri Brahma Chamundeswari. In the east facing Shrine, Sri Kali appears in ferocious form named Sri Thillai Kali. This Shrine is always kept covered with a screen and the screen is sided only during archana and deepa aradhana.
Special pujas are done to the Deities in the Rahu Kalams, Pournami and Amavasya. Sri Thillai Kali is the Deity for Makam Star. It is considered auspicious for Makam Star born devotees to worship Sri Thillai Kali Devi.
There is a dedicated shrine for Sri Saraswathi and She is worshipped as Sri Veena Vidyambika, Sri Dakshina Murthy, a form of Sri Shiva is in another sanctum and the Murthy appears in female form as Kadamba Vana Dakshina Roopini.
In the month of Vaikasi, a thirteen day festival is conducted with daily processions and rath yatra. In Purattasi month, Navarathri is celebrated in a grand manner.
The temple is open from 06.30 a.m to 12 noon and from 04.30 p.m to 08.30 p.m.
The pilgrimage visit to Chidambaram is complete only if we have the darshan of Sri Thillai Kali Devi.