feature on Chidambaram.
Chidambaram is one of the foremost Saivite shrines; the very name Kovil refers to
Chidambaram, where Natarajar is enshrined in the ChitSabha or the Hall
of Consciousness, in the Ananda Tandavam (Dance of Bliss) pose. Chidambaram
is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams
signifying the 5 elements of wind (Kalahasti),
water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram)
and space (Chidambaram). The Moovar (Sambandar,
Appar and Sundarar) as well as Manikkavacakar have sung praises of Chidambaram.
Several literary works praise the glory of Chidambaram.
Chidambaram is always referred to as the first of the Tevara
Paadal Petra Stalangal and is also regarded as the first of the Tevara
Stalangal located on the Northern banks of the river Kaveri in the
Chola region of Tamilnadu.
Chidambaram is one of the 5
dance Halls of Shiva (Kanakasabhai).The five dance halls are Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu,
Tirunelveli and Kutralam.
This temple is home to Chidambara Rahasyam, concept of nothingness (aroopam).
Shiva is said to have revealed a vision of his cosmic dance to Patanjali, Vyagrapadar
and to all Devas here. In terms of its antiquity, richness in terms of
worship & festival traditions, in architectural & sculptural splendour, in its
association with music & dance, Chidambaram is a center second to none in
truly representing the rich Indian cultural heritage.
History: The Tevaram hymns were rediscovered here after a
long hiatus, under the initiative of the monarch Raja Raja Cholan. The Chidambaram
temple predates the Tevaram hymns. The Imperial Cholas considered Nataraja to be their
tutelary deitiy and heaped patronage on this temple, and their tradition was continued by
the Pandyas and the Vijayanagar Kings.
The Temple: Towering gopurams with thousands of figurines, mandapams
with sculptured pillars, lend special interest to this vast temple complex. Govindaraja
Perumal Temple is a Vaishnava Divya Desam within this complex There are several other
features of interest in Chidambaram. Please follow this link for a special Templenet feature (from 1998) on
Festivals: A whole range of worship services are offered to Natarajar
and to Tirumoolattaanar here on a daily basis. Margazhi Tiruvadirai and Ani
Tirumanjanam provide a climactic finish to the 2 annual festivals celebrated with
great pomp here.