Author Topic: The Facts on Chidambaram Temple  (Read 6888 times)


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The Facts on Chidambaram Temple
« on: January 31, 2009, 11:57:32 AM »
The Chidambaram Temple is considered as the Holiest by Saiva
Saints.  There are four towers, on four directions.  The Dancing
God, Nataraja, faces the South and He is the North Pole of Gods.
Nataraja icon procession comes out to the streets only from the
Southern tower.  It is said that Saint Tirujnana Sambandhar entered the temple, from the southern tower.  Saint Appar or Tirunavukkarasar from the Western tower, Saint Sundaramoorthy from the Northern tower and Saint Manikkavachagar from the Eastern tower.   The four towers are similar to each other but are asymmetrical and were constructed in 12th and 13th centuries.

Inside the temple, for the Dancing Hall of Nataraja, (Kanaka Sabha), there is a golden roof made by King Anabhaya Chozha.  The golden
roof is made of 22600 tiles representing so many breaths of a human being on a day, and fixed with 72,000 golden nails representing the 72,000 visible and invisible nerves of a human body!  The roof is having 9 ornamental conic heads (Kalasas),
representing the nine gateways or holes in a human body.  There are five courtyards, representing five sheaths of a human body, kosas.

The towers are known for images of bharata natyam, Indian classical dance,  a tribute of dances to the dancing god.  Even today girls who have to perform their maiden concert of classical dances,  are permitted by the temple authorities, with prior permission.

The Chidambram temple has always followed both Vedic and Tamil version of worships, chanting of Rudram and singing of Tevaram and Tiruvachakam.  The temple priests are qualified on both these.  They are a clan by themselves, the brahmins called Dikshitas and the deity worship is clan dependent.  Other brahmin priests from outside the clan cannot do pooja  there.  Nor do the dikshitas peform poojas in other temples.  The temple is a privately owned property run by a Trust and it is not under government control.

Sage Vyagrapada (Tiger-footed sage) and Patanjali (the serpent) are reported to have been praying to Nataraja and seeing His Cosmic dance everyday.  There is one shrine for Tirumoolar inside the temple precincts which is said to be his Samadhi.  Saint Manikkavachagar merged in the Effulgence inside the sanctum sanctorum.  Nambi Andar Nambi, a saint poet of 13th century is said to have found Tevarams and other holy canons inside the temple and this old edition (possibly made out of in gold plates) is held inside the temple in a closed shrine.

The word "Tiru Chitrambalam", refers to the Heart inside a seeker who is meditating on the Self.  The "Perambalam", the Great Court is universe itself.  Saiva poets and saints always write Tiruchitrambalam before and after their songs.  Poet Muruganar also follows this traditon in his Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai.

Readers interested in more information may kindly refer to a book called Kovil Puranam, (the epic of the Temple), which is available as Tamil poems.  In English, one can refer to Ananda Kumaraswamy's classical work titled The Dance of Nataraja.

Arunachala Siva.           


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Re: The Facts on Chidambaram Temple
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 09:10:40 PM »
Dear Subramanian,
                        I visited Chidambaram temple on 14th jan this year.All these details i am not aware .Thank you so much for your precious post.