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Nataraja Temple

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Chidambaram Natarajar is one of the most ancient shrines in India. Chidambaram is associated with Nataraja, or Shiva in his Ananda Tandava pose (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall and the hall of consciousness (Chit Sabha). It is of great religious as well as historic and cultural significance. Shiva is also worshipped in the "formless form" of the Chidambara Rahasyam, while the temple is known for its Akasa Lingam, an embodiment of Shiva as the formless Space. The word "Koyil" or temple in the Tamil Saivite tradition refers to none other than the Chidambaram Nataraja temple.

How To Reach:

The temple is 78 km south of Pondicherry and 235 Km from Chennai which is the capital of Tamil Nadu state of south-eastern India. It is easily accessible through rails, flights, cabs and buses.

History

Literature talks of a tradition of Shiva (Nataraja) worship in existence even as early as the Sangam period .The later Chola Kings adorned the roof of the shrine with gold, and the other Chola Kings treated Nataraja as their guardian deity and made several endowments to the temple.The Pandya Kings who followed them, and the later Vijayanagar rulers made several endowments to the temple.

Legends:

Legends associated with this temple: Aadi Sesha, the serpent (couch) of Vishnu, heard from Vishnu the grandeur of Shiva's cosmic dance and Nataraja: The dance of bliss, or the Ananda Tandavam of Shiva is said to symbolize the five divine acts (pancha krityas) of creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and bestowment of grace.

Architectural Brief

Inside the temple complex, the main is in 50 acres in the heart of the city. It is a very sacred, ancient and historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place. This temple is gold-roofed stage and the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple houses the Lord in three forms:

the first one is in the anthromorphological form as an appearance of Lord Nataraja, called the Sakala thirumeni.

thesecond one is in "semi-form" – the semi-anthropomorphological form as the Crystal linga of Chandramouleswarar, the Sakala nishkala thirumeni and the last one is "formless" – as the Space in Chidambara Rahasyam, an empty space within the sanctum sanctorum, the Nishkala thirumeni.

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  Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu 608001, India