The pagodas at Chidambaram are the oldest in the south of India, and portions of them are gems of art.
There are many fine pagodas and monastic buildings in the town.
The bestowal of alms, offerings of rice to priests, the founding of a monastery, erection of pagodas, with which the country is crowded, the building of a bridge or rest-house for the convenience of travellers are all works of religious merit, prompted, not by love of one's fellowcreatures, but simply and solely for one's own future advantage.
It is a large town with wide and airy streets, and is adorned with pagodas, gateways and other buildings of considerable pretension.
They paid their annual rent of 1200 pagodas (say £50o) to the deputies of the Mogul empire when Aurangzeb annexed the south, and on two several occasions bought off a besieging army with a heavy bribe.
Among the innumerable ruins may be seen those of palaces, pagodas, churches and fortifications, the departed glories of which are recorded in the writings of the early European travellers who first brought Siam within the knowledge of the West, and laid the foundations of the present foreign intercourse and trade.
From 1751 to 1755 the island and its pagodas were the object of frequent contests between the French and the English.