Indian Temples | chidambaram Temple History and secrets of Lord Shiva Temple |nataraja swamy temple

 chidambaram Temple History and secrets of Lord Shiva Temple

Chidambaram Temple :

Spread over forty acres of land in the town of Chidambaram, Tamilnadu, Chidambaram Temple is dedicated to Lord Nataraj, the dancing form of Shiva. Chidambaram temple history stretches over several centuries. Hindu scriptures herald this temple as one among the Panchabhuta sthalas (the five popular Shiva temples, each one visualizing Shiva as one of the five elements).

chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram Temple

Chidambaram Temple :

Chidambaram temple represents Shiva as Akash or ether. Therefore the central sanctum sanctorum is void and does not have any image. This is called Chidambara Rahasya (the secret of Chidambaram).

Temple History :

Chidambaram temple has a very old history since classical period. Every major ruling dynasty of the Tamil kingdom has contributed to the renovations, additions and enhancements of the temple during different times in history. The notable contributions were by the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Chera and Vijayanagara rulers during the periods of ancient and medieval history. The present day structure of the temple has its roots in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Shiva temple
Siva Temple

Temple Highlights :

Chidambaram temple is highly reputed for its inimitable sculptures, architecture, bronze images from very old times, fresco paintings and the unique representation of Shiva in his dancing form. The court where Shiva dances is called as Ponnambalam (golden court) and the roof of this court in the temple is laid with golden tiles by a Chola king called Parantaka.

Temple Highlights :

The sculptures of the temple have inspired the different postures of Bharata Natyam (Tamil classical dance). The temple is also famous for its five halls called in Tamil as Sabhai or Ambalam. The thousand pillared hall of this temple had been the seat of learned scholars amidst whom several accomplished literary works were launched by Tamil scholars down the history.

The Golden Roof :

The golden roof of the temple has 21,600 golden tiles with the name SIVAYANAMA etched on each of them representing 21600 breaths. They are fixed with 72,000 golden nails that symbolically represent the number of Nadis (pulses) that exist in human body

Legend of Natraja form :

The land where the temple is built had been a part of a dense mangrove forest since very old times. This forest was occupied by several sages who had been practicing occult form of worship believing that they could imprison god through their magical spells. Once, Lord Siva had a stroll in the forests accompanied by Vishnu posing as his consort Mohini.

Nataraja swamy
Nataraja Swamy

Legend of Natraja form :

The alluring form of Shiva tantalized the consorts of the sages. The sages grew angry and threw magical spells on Shiva taking the form of snakes, tiger, wild elephant and a demon. Shiva wore snakes as ornaments, tore the tiger and elephant and wore their skins, humbled the demon and started dancing in ecstasy. This cosmic dance got the Lord the name Nataraja.

The Three forms of Shiva :

The sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple depicts Shiva in his three forms. Nataraj or the dancing form is the anthropomorphic representation of Shiva in human form (Sakala). The semi-anthropomorphic form of Shiva is shown by the crystal linga called as Chandramaulishwara (Sakala – Nishkala).


Lastly, the formless aspect of Shiva is depicted by the void (Nishkala). Thus, philosophically, the Chidambaram temple concept embraces several ideologies associated with religious worship.

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Indian Temples | chidambaram Temple History and secrets of Lord Shiva Temple |nataraja swamy temple
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