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Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

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The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram also known as Thillai Nataraja Temple is dedicated to Nataraja, also known as Lord Shiva in his dance form. At the Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, the centre of worship is the Ether (Sky) element, the subtlest of the five elements which is also called as Panch Bhoota Sthalam. In the Thillai Nataraja Temple, the formless Lord Shiva is worshipped. This temple has been around for a long time, and when the town was called Thillai, there was a Shiva shrine there.

Story Behind Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

There is a tonne of information on Shiva in an exciting story about the town of Chidambaram. The mangrove forests of Chidambaram were formerly the destination of Lord Shiva’s promenade (Thillai Vanam). In the forest there resided sages who believed that by reciting mantras and doing rituals one might command God. The wise men and their spouses were fascinated by Lord Shiva’s attractiveness. The rishis became enraged upon witnessing their womenfolk being charmed and triggered with an abundance of snakes. Lord Shiva lifted the serpents and covered his matted hair, neck, and waist with them.

Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The wise men called upon a fierce tiger, whose fur Lord Shiva wrapped around His waist. Then a fierce elephant appeared, which Lord Shiva destroyed and shattered. The Rishis then invoked Muyalakan, a symbol of our collective arrogation and ignorance. Lord Shiva performed the Ananda Tandava, or dance of eternal bliss, and revealed His true form after crushing the demon under His feet. The deity performing the Ananda Tandava is depicted on the Nataraja idol in Chidambaram.

This temple is said to have been the birthplace of the Chidambara Rahasya, or greatest secret, in addition to Nataraja. The priest is shown in the Chidambara Rahasya opening the curtain to reveal a space within the temple’s inner sanctum. The removal of the veil of ignorance to attain the Ultimate Bliss is symbolized by this. As a result, the Chidambara Rahasya is a symbol of that point in time when total surrender allows God to intervene and remove our ignorance while simultaneously seeing and experiencing His presence and experiencing Deep Bliss.

Credit – Wikipedia

History of Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The Nataraja temple dates back to at least the 5th century, likely following the South Indian tradition of temple construction. The town is not referred to as Chidambaram in these pre-5th-century texts, although Appar and Sambadar’s earliest mentions of the “dancing god of Chidambaram” as Shiva can be found in texts written between the 6th and early 7th centuries. The Suta Samhita, which is embedded within the Sri Kanda Puranam and is variously dated between the 7th and 10th centuries, mentions the Chidambaram dance.

The surviving Nataraja temple has a structure that is traceable to the early Chola dynasty. Chidambaram was the early capital of this dynasty, and Shiva Nataraja was their family deity. When Rajaraja Chola I moved the capital to Thanjavur, built a new city, and built the massive Brihadeeswarar Temple, which was dedicated to Shiva in the early 11th century and is now a world heritage site, the Chidambaram temple town remained significant to the Cholas despite increasing competition from other temple towns.

Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram took this tradition and creatively transformed it into forms that could not be found anywhere else. Inscriptions from the early 10th century of Aditya Chola I, who built Chidambaram as their capital, show that the dancing Shiva served as their kula-nayaka (family guide or deity). These inscriptions also show that Chidambaram had the earliest historically verifiable Shiva temple. The significance of the Agama texts and the Shaiva Bhakti movement was increasing within the Chola leadership and thought, according to these inscriptions and texts from this period.

The first historical kings to claim having gilded the roof of the Cit Sabha are the Chola Aditya I (871-907) and his son Parantaka I (907-955). By this time the temple had already become important. The place where kings were crowned, and where they came to worship and receive counsel

Architecture of Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The Sanctum Sanctorum is a Dravidian-style building that predates the Chola period and is eerily similar to Kerala or Malabar-style buildings. Without a doubt, the Sanctum’s remodelling using Keralan draughtsmen is noted in the imperial contracts. The apsidal curve of the golden roof, however, is a stunning illustration of Vesara architecture. The Chit Sabha and Kanak Sabha are two diminutive buildings that make up the central portion of the enormous architectural complex.

Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram is spread over 40 acres (16 ha) of land and surrounded by layers of overlapping courtyards. All of the inner sanctum’s mandapams, which connect it, and the pillared halls near it are square, stacked square, or both. The Shivaganga sacred pool is the largest of the nine gopurams in the complex, which are rectangular water storage structures.

In the temple complex, Nataraja Shiva and Shaivism-related theological ideas are worshipped. However, the temple also houses shrines for other deities like Subrahmanyar, Nandi, Ganesha, Devi, and Vishnu. A Surya shrine with wheels on a chariot and an Amman shrine are also present. The structure includes numerous gathering spaces known as sabha, two notable corridors known as the 100-pillared and 1,000-pillared corridors, and engravings and murals illustrating Hindu mythology about deities, goddesses, holy figures, and scholars.

Facts about Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

  • The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram is the fifth largest in India and spans 40 acres. It is located in the heart of the town of Chidambaram.
  • The temple is revered as one of the¬†Pancha Bhoota Stalam where the presiding deity is worshipped as Ether (Sky) element.
  • The name “Chidambaram” is derived from the terms “Chit,” which denotes consciousness, and “Ambaram,” which means the sky. The ultimate objective of human life, the “Sky of Consciousness,” is mentioned.
  • According to legend, the temple is situated in Virat Hridaya Padma Sthalam, the lotus centre of the cosmos.
  • The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram Gopuram has a gold-plated roof designed by Chola king Parantaka.
  • Out of all the Panch Bhoota Sthalam temples, this is the only one where Lord Shiva is portrayed by an anthropomorphic idol rather than the Lingam. The temple also honours Lord Shiva in the form of a fine stone Lingam and in his ethereal structure (to which a vacant room is dedicated).

Famous Festivals In Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

Millions of people visit the Nataraja Temple Chidambaram every year to celebrate all of the festivals that are held here.

  • The people of Chidambaram organize a festival known as Natyanjali annually to celebrate their deity.
  • Arudhra Darshan or Arudara Darshan is a famous festival that takes place in Chidambaram in the month of Margazhi (December- January).
  • Aani Thirumanjanam or Ani Uthiram is another auspicious festival celebrated by the people of Chidambaram in the month of Aani.
  • Panguni Uthiram is a famous festival that takes place in all temples of Chidambaram every year. Panguni Uthiram is mainly a unique festival in Chidambaram as it marks the coming together of the stars Uthiram and Pournami.

How to Reach Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

The famous Nataraja Temple Chidambaram is accessible by various modes of transport.

By Air: Pondicherry Airport (PNY) is the nearest airport located around 66 kilometres north of Chidambaram.

By Rail: Chidambaram Railway Station which is merely 1 Km from the temple.

By Road: Chidambaram Bus Station is nearly 2km from the temple.

Also Read –¬†Srikalahasteeswara Temple

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Sunday 6 AM - 10 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 10 PM
Monday 6 AM - 10 PM
Tuesday 6 AM - 10 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 10 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 10 PM
Friday 6 AM - 10 PM
Address: Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919443635280Call Now
Website: http://www.chidambaramnataraja.org/ Visit the site
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Open Now

Sunday 6 AM - 10 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 10 PM
Monday 6 AM - 10 PM
Tuesday 6 AM - 10 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 10 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 10 PM
Friday 6 AM - 10 PM
Address: Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919443635280Call Now
Website: http://www.chidambaramnataraja.org/Visit the site