Five Important Nataraja Shrines of Tamil Nadu

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  • Topic: Shiva, Tamil Nadu, Nataraja
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  • Published : February 9, 2013
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There are lots of temples in Tamil Nadu where Siva is worshipped as Nataraja.

Lord Siva, as the god of dance is known as Nataraja. There are lots of temples in India and especially in Tamil Nadu where Siva is worshipped as Nataraja. But, there are mainly five places in Tamil Nadu where the cult of Nataraja is worshipped with gaiety and pomp. The dancing deity Nataraja can be seen in these Pancha sabbas or five halls of Tamil Nadu. The five temples - Chidhambaram, Maduarai, Thiruvilankadu, Tirunelveli and Kutralam, are very revered and is known as the five sabhas. It is said Lord Shiva has danced at these five places as Nataraja - the dancing form of Shiva, to benefit different devotees. Kanaka Sabha:

The most important shrine for Nataraja is the Kanaka Sabha or golden hall at Chidambaram. The Nataraja dances here in the Ananda Tandava or the dance of bliss form and he is called Kanaka Sabhapati or the Lord of the Golden Hall. This temple has been sung in a lot of Dhevaram and Thiruvasakam. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped in all the three forms, namely, arupa - which is called chitambara rahasyam, aruparupa - shiva lingam and rupa - nataraja. Nataraja was the favourite deity of the Chola kings of Tanjavur and hence they kept idol of Nataraja in all the Siva temples built by them in various places in their empire in Tamil Nadu and all over in South India. Chidambaram marks an important stage of evolution of southern Indian architecture.

Rajatha Sabha:
Rajatha Sabha or silver hall (velli ambalam) at the Minakshi Sundareshwarar temple in Madurai is another important Natarja shrine of Tamil Nadu. Nataraja is shown in a very rare posture here. He is shown his right leg raised and dancing on the dwarf (apasmara purusha) with his left foot. Both the main image of stone (moolavar) and the processional image (utsava murti) in this shrine are in unusual posture. The usual posture of Nataraja is dancing with his right leg placed on the dwarf with his left leg...
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