South Indian - Temples
Said by some to be the holiest South India, this is certainly one of the most visited and is famed for a particularly beautiful jewelled image of Lord Nataraja. Nataraja, and incarnation of Shiva, is known as the Lord of the Cosmic Dance, and usually depicted within a circle of flaming lamps.
Natarajar Temple - Chidambaram - Tamilnadu
Chidambaram is a significant pilgrimage centre, located near the coast 240km south of Chennai. It is an important industrial city as well, and was a centre of power during the Chola period of South Indian history in the early part of the last millennium.
The temple is distinctive not only for its devotion solely to the Bharatanatyam, but because of being among the rate temples where Lord Shiva is depicted by a statue rather than the traditional lingam.
History of Natarajar Temple
The temple complex is a large one, spread over an area of nearly 15 hectares with tall gopurams (temple towers) on all sides. Both the eastern and northern gopurams are more than 40 metres tall. The eastern one is particularly impressive with 108 (a significant figure in Vedic numerology) carvings of various dance poses covering it.
The statue of Lord Nataraja is placed in the kanaksabha, the top of which is coated with gold plates. The idol of Lord Shiva is a striking figurine, which evokes a sense of constant movement. All the prominent dancers of India get together during the Natyanjali dance festival. They offer their dance and performances to Lord Nataraja. The celebration takes place on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, during February or March
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