Chidambaram Information

Chidambaram is known for the famous Natraja Temple dedicated to Lord Natraj (Shiva as a cosmic dancer) and is noted for its golden roof over the sanctum sanctorum.  It is an important pilgrim center and a holy placed for Saivaites.  It is also one of the five Shaivaite Mukti Sthalams.  The other four being Kalahasthi (near Thirupathi), Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai and Thiruvanaikaval (Trichy).  The temple located in the center of the town covers an area of 40 acres.


This ancient temple of the Cholas is unique not only due to the fact that it is devoted solely to the art of Bharthanatiyam,  but also it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather that the customary Lingam.  The idol of Sri Natraja is installed in the Kanaka Sabha.  Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum.  Behind Sri Nataraj, is a black screen, which is considered to cover the Aakasa Lingam.  There is no Lingam, but we are made to believe that there is in invisible Lingam, with golden vilva garlands, i.e stressing the belief that there is everything in nothing.  There are five silver plated steps to reach the Kanaka Sabha, representing the Panchakshara Mantram Na ma Siva ya.

The temple is surrounded by massive walls with four big tall gopurams in four directions and a big tank called Sivagangai tank measuring 175 * 100 feet towards the North.  The North & South gopurams are 160 feet high.  The 108 dance postures as seen in the Natya Sastra are sculpted in these towers.  It has five principal sabhas known as Kanakasabha, Chit sabha, Naitya sabha, Deva sabha measuring 103 metres by 58 metres is housed in a 1000 pillared hall in the outermost prakaram.  Tradition holds that Sekhizhar recited the Peria Puranam here.  The sanctum of Sivakama Sundari lies to the left of Natarajar Sannidhi.
This is one of the few temples, where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof.  Near the sanctum there is a shrine for Vishnu called as Govindaraja, or Chitracootathullan.  Legend says that Siva and Parvathi were dancing with abandon when the question of who was better dancer came up.  First they went to Brahma at Thiruvalankadu, but failed to give a verdict.  Second they went to Vishnu at Thiruchitrakoodam (Chidambaram).  While dancing Siva as Nataraja lifted his right leg above his head.  Parvathi could not do so due modesty.  Since the verdict wen in favour of Siva.  Thus Chidambaram was also importance to Vishnu also.

Two annual Bhrammotsavams are celebrated.  One in the month of Margazhi, during Arudra Darisanam festival and the second in the month of Aani concluding with Aani Tirumanjanam, when the deities are taken out in procession.

Sirkazhi

Sirkazhi is considered to be the Tevara Stalangal located to the North of the river Kaveri.  This is a vast temple complex with 3 different Shiva Shrines.  Three different forms of Shiva are worshipped here, the Shivalingam (Bhrammapureeswarar), a colossal image of Uma Maheswarar (Toniapar) at the upper level, and Bhairavar (Sattanathar) again at the upper level.

Goddess Parvathi gave Ganana milk to Thirugnana Sambandar here, when he was a child.  After this, he sang the famous Devaram.  Lord Shiva as Thoniappar resides in a thoni (boat).  The boat symbolizes that Thoniappar helps people cross their sea of birth.  Every year during Thiruvadirai Nakshatra of Chithirai month, the famous Thirumulaippal Utsav is held.  This well maintained temple is under the able administration of the Dharumapura Adhinam.  Six worship services are offered each day.  Special worship services to Bhairavar (Sattanathar) are carried out on Friday nights.

Vaitheeswararn Kovil

This ancient temple decicated to Lord Shiva as Vaitheeswaran literally meaning the divine provider of cures.  Adorned with imposing towers, Mandapams and pillars, this well visited shrine has been sung by the Saivite Saint Poets.  It is believed that a bath in the holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex will cure all diseases.  It is of said that Angarakan Mars, Kartikeya, Jatayu and the Rig Veda worshipped Shiva here.  This shrine is also referred to as an Angarakasthalam. 

 

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