Updated May 25, 2023
Nataraja Temple Chidambaram
Among India’s most significant Shiva temples is the Thillai Nataraja Temple, one of the five most sacred Shiva temples. Thillai Nataraja Temple is Lord Shiva’s temple, sometimes called the Chidambaram Temple or Nataraja Temple. The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple has a connection to a fascinating tale. At the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, here is a briefing.
Nataraja, a cosmic dancer, has headquarters in Chidambaram. One of the five Pancha Bhutasthalas. The Akasa Sthalam—Space—is located in Chidambaram. The remaining four are in Tiruvanaikaval (Appu sthalam – Water), Kalahasti (Vayu sthalam – Air), and Tiruvannamalai (Prithvi sthalam – Earth) (Thejo sthalam – Fire).
Legacy of the Temple
The temple has been famous for many years, but records of its former splendor date back to Hiranya Chakravarthi of Kashmir’s visit in the year 500 A.D. People say that just one dip in the Sivaganga thirtham pushkarini of the temple cured the king’s leprosy.
The four great Saiva acharyas, Manikkavachakar, Sundarar, Sambandar, and Appar, associate this sacred shrine with their respective paths of Charya, Yoga, Kriya, and Gnana, creating masterpieces that honor their paths. Thousands of devotees have attained nirvana at this kshetra; famous names include Tirunilakandanayanar, Nandanar, Vyagrapada, and Patanjali.
The Chola monarch Parantaka I donated significant contributions to the temple in the 10th century and gave the Karuvarai a golden roof. The Cholas, devoted Saivites, improved the temple while preserving its splendor. Sundra Pandyan erected the east Gopuram, while Krishnadeva Raya built the north Gopuram. Covering 39 acres of land in the city center, the temple uses granite as the primary material. High walls surround it. It has four large gopurams pointing in different directions and faces north toward a sizable tank known as the Sivagangal tank, which is 175 by 100 feet.
Kanaka Sabha is a golden hall next to the Chit Sabha. These two sabhas’ ceilings have gold plating. The Pancha Murtis (Vinayaka, Somaskandar, Subramanya Parvati, and Chandikeswara) and other festival pictures are present in the Deva Sabha; a large auditorium used to celebrate significant festivals. In the furthest prakaram, a 1,000-pillared hall contains the 103 by 58-meter Raja Sabha.
Interesting Facts Regarding Chidambaram’s Thillai Nataraja Temple
- One can see Shiva engaging in “Ananda Tandava.”: Lord Shiva is typically shown as a “Linga,” the traditional and most prevalent form. However, the highlight of this temple is that Shiva is dancing and engaging in “Ananda Tandava,” which is Sanskrit, meaning “dance of ecstasy.”
- Shiva and Vishnu offered joint prayers: The fact that Chidambaram Temple is one of the uncommon temples dedicated to both Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities makes this even more remarkable. Here, people offer adoration to Lord Govindaraja Perumal.
- Glorious past: The old temple, synonymous with rich history, saw numerous modifications during the rule of different dynasties, including the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras, and what now stands tall is the construction from the 12th to the 13th century. It truly is a masterpiece of architecture!
- Made on Shiva’s dedication: The Thillai Nataraja Temple, consecrated to Lord Shiva, is a well-liked pilgrimage site in southern India since it holds such great religious significance for Shaivas.
- Breathtaking architecture: Four of the nine gates on the enormous temple’s structure are “gopurams,” or towers with incredibly detailed and elaborate decorations. The Raja Sabha, or the hall with 1000 pillars, is one of the temple’s five magnificent halls and is one of its most beautiful features. “Gopuram darisanam Kodi punyam”, which translates to “seeing a temple tower is worth 10 million pious actions,” is a frequent proverb in Tamil.
Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram
The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple holds an intriguing legend and historical significance as a Shiva Shrine. The historical work known as the Chidambara-mahatma contains a similar tale.
Mohini was Lord Vishnu taking the shape of a lovely woman. The myth claims that Lord Shiva and Mohini once traveled to the jungles of Thillai. They entered a group of sages and their spouses while wandering through the forest. During this encounter, Lord Shiva began Tandava to arouse the lusty desires of the sages’ wives and Mohini to arouse those of the sages themselves.
The sages were upset by this behavior, so they attempted to frighten Lord Shiva away in various ways but were unsuccessful. Eventually, they concluded that Lord Shiva was the truth, and they submitted.
How to Reach the Temple?
Tourists from Pondicherry and Chennai frequently visit the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. You can travel to Trichy by train using the route Chennai-Villupuram-Vridhachalam-Trichy after arriving in Chennai. You can also take paid flights from Pondicherry to Chidambaram when traveling via Airways.
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