(annual festivals) at Chidambaram are of great significance, as they
involve colorful processions of festival deities in the car streets. The grandest of these
occurs in the month of Margazhi (Dec 15 - Jan 15), concluding on the full
moon day corresponding to the Arudra Darisanam festival (Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in Saivite temples all over
This ten day festival
at Chidambaram involves a grand scheme of traditional observances commencing with the
hoisting of the temple flag on the first day, followed by colorful procesions of the five
deities (Pancha Murthys) on the first eight days on various mounts. The
fifth day features Mount Kailasam, while the sixth day features the
It is only on the ninth
day that Nataraja leaves his sanctum, and is taken in a procession through the car
streets, in the grand temple car. This is a special occasion and crowds throng to see it.
Local fishermen communities traditionally offer gifts to Nataraja during
Nataraja then returns
to the Raja Sabha of
the temple, where in the pre-dawn hours of the next day, while the moon
is full, special abhishekams are performed to Nataraja,
in the presence of tens of thousands of devotees, and this ritual is followed by the royal
audience of Nataraja in the Raja Sabha.
In the afternoon, Nataraja returns to the shrine ceremoniously from the
Raja Sabha, amidst an enactment of the Ananda Tandavam
or the Dance of Bliss.
The second of the
Bhrammotsavams happens in the month of Aani (June - July) and it
concludes with Aani Tirumanjanam on the tenth day, in a manner similar to
Arudra Darisanam in Margazhi. It is interesting that
these annual Bhrammotsavams or festivals happen in the tamil months immediately
preceding the summer and winter solstices (ie. Gemini and Sagittarius).
Several other festivals
centered around Nataraja and Sivakami are celebrated here throughout the year - Maasi
Makam being one of the more significant ones.
Live dance performances
have been introduced to the temple recently, in the form of annual dance festivals.