The Nataraj Temple Chidambaram is also referred as Thillai Nataraj Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is in the southern state of Tamilnadu in India. The temple has a deep mythical connection. When the name of the town was Thillai, a Shiva shrine used to be there in the temple. Chidambaram is the name of the city where the temple is now situated literally meaning “clothed in thought” or “atmosphere of wisdom”.
The architecture of the temple represents the link between arts and spirituality. The temple was constructed during the 10th Century when Chidambaram used to be the capital of the Chola dynasty. The Cholas considered Lord Shiva as Nataraj as their family deity. The Nataraj temple has undergone damage, renovation and expansion throughout the 2nd millennium. Although Shiva is the main deity of the temple, it also represents major themes from Vaishnavism, Shaktism and others with all due reverence. The Chidambaram temple complex proudly boasts of being one of the oldest temple complexes in Southern India. The most unique characteristic of the Nataraj Temple is the bejewelled image of Nataraj.
The temple has five main Halls or Sabhas namely the Kanaka Sabha, the Cit Sabha, Nritta Sabha, Deva Sabha and Raja Sabha. Nataraj happens to be one of the most momentous forms of Lord Shiva. Chidambaram is also amongst one of the most celebrated shrines of Lord Shiva in the country. The place also bears a significant importance from both cultural point of view and historical perspective as well.Now R & D, Western scientists have proved that at Lord Nataraja ‘s big toe is the Centre Point of World ‘s Magnetic Equator.
Ancient Tamil Scholar Thirumoolar has proved this Five thousand years ago! His treatise Thirumandiram is a wonderful Scientific guide for the whole world.
Chidambaram temple embodies the following characteristics :
- This temple is located at the Center Point of world ‘s Magnetic Equator.
- amoung the “Pancha bootha” temples, Chidambaram denotes the Skies. Kalahasthi denotes Wind. Kanchi Ekambareswar denotes land. All these 3 temples are located in a straight line at 79 degrees 41 minutes Longitude. This can be verified. An amazing fact & astronomical miracle !
- Chidambaram temple is based on the Human having 9 Entrances denoting 9 Entrances or Openings of the body.
- Temple roof is made of 21600 gold sheets which denotes the 21600 breaths taken by a human being every day (15 x 60 x 24 = 21600)
- These 21600 gold sheets are fixed on the “Vimanam” (Roof) using 72000 gold nails which denote the total no. of Nadis (Nerves) in the human body.
- Thirumoolar states that man represents the shape of Shivalingam, which represents Chidambaram which represents Sadashivam which represents Lord SHIVA’s dance!
- “Ponnambalam ” is placed slightly tilted towards the left. This represents our Heart. To reach this, we need to climb 5 steps called “Panchatshara padi ” “Si, Va, Ya, Na, Ma ” are the 5 Panchatshara mantras. There are 4 pillars holding the Kanagasabha representing the 4 Vedas.
- Ponnambalam has 28 pillars denoting the 28 “Ahamas “as well as the 28 methods to worship Lord Shiva. These 28 pillars support 64 +64 Roof Beams which denote the 64 Arts. The cross beams represent the Blood Vessels running across the Human body.
- Kalasas on the Golden Roof represent the 9 types of Sakthi or Energies.The 6 pillars at the Artha Mantapa represent the 6 types of Sashtras.The 18 pillars in the adjacant Mantapa represents 18 Puranams.
- The dance of Lord Nataraja is described as Cosmic Dance by Western Scientists.
Quite a number of legends are associated with that of the Chidambaram Nataraj Temple. A couple of annual festivals and traditions that are celebrated with utmost grandeur and pomp are Aani Tirumanjanam and Margazhi Tiruvaadirai.