The popular Nataraja temple is located in the heart of the temple town, Chidambaram. This shrine is one of the oldest holy places in India and a main pilgrimage point for religious Hindus who worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva known respectively as Vaishnavites and Shaivites . The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and an abode to Lord of Cosmic Dance, Shiva Nataraja. The cosmic dance portrayed as Nataraja Nrutham shows the motion of Universe maintained by Lord Shiva. Numerous people visit the temple and offer their prayers to Lord Shiva.
The shrine of Nataraja is one of the grand temples of Southern India. It is settled 10 kms from Bay of Bengal, 250 kms away from southern part of Chennai. The splendid monument is sprawled over an area of 18 hectares.
The historical part of Nataraja Temple lies unseen in the haze of time. Tiilai was the initial name of this place that means the sky pervaded by atmosphere of knowledge and intelligence. According to mythology, the place was once a forest in Tillai. On the banks of tank, there was a small temple, which is now known as Thirumoolanathar.
The great saints Patanjali and Vyagrapada paid reverence at Thirumoolanthar temple. It is said that the reparation of these saints accomplished fulfillment with the appearance of Cosmic Dancer Lord Shiva on the propitious day of Thai Poosam.
Daily Chores In The Shrine
Worship to the God begins from early morning hours and ends at evening every day. The atmosphere is filled up with dedication and devotion to the universal dancer. Absolute silence, fragrance of incense sticks and gleaming orange diyas makes the environment sanctified and divine.
The mesmerizing Chidamabaram temple covers an area of 40 acreas. The roof of the shrine is covered with gold plates and gives a stunning look to viewers. The temple comprises of five halls, two halls Chit Sabha and Kanaka Sabha have gold plated roofs. The main idol of Nataraja is settled in Kanaka Sabha.
One of the noteworthy features of the shrine is that Chit Sabha has no picture of God. The hall of dance, which is known as Nritta Sabha is the most remarkable and beautiful amongst five halls. The hall consists of 56 pillars that represent 108 Bharatnatyam poses and intricately carved with granite monoliths.
The Deva Sabha hall was the place for every thanksgiving ceremony and celebrations organized by Cholas and Pandyas. Adjacent to Nataraja, there is a temple, which is devoted to Lord Vishnu. Thillai Kaliamman temple is situated nearby Nataraja temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Kali and constructed by Chola King Kopperunjingam.
Time to visit the temple : 6:00 am – 12:00 pm and 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm
A Quick Look Over Some Important Facts
- Area- 5 sq. kms.
- Climate- Max Summer 37.1º c 36.4º c, winter 21.3º c 20.1º c
- Best season to visit- Throughout the year
- Languages spoken- Tamil and English
How To Reach Nataraja Temple ?
By Air : The closest Airport is located in Tiruchirappalli, which is 167 south-west from Chidambaram temple.
By Rail : Chidambaram is situated on the central line of Southern railway. One can take trains to reach directly to cities like Tirupati, Tanjore, and Madras etc.
By Road : The extensive road network joints Chidambaram to Mamallapur, Madras, Pondicherry and Thanjore.