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Chidambaram Nataraja Temple Timings, Poojas, History, Sevas

Chidambaram Nataraja Temple or Thillai Nataraja Swamy Temple is an ancient Shiva Temple in Chidambaram, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.
God Shiva in the form of Sri Nataraja Swamy(Tirumoola Nathar) is self-manifested (Swayambu) in this temple. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity in this temple.

The temple is 78 km from Pondicherry and 235 km from Chennai.. The Sangam classics refer to Viduvelvidugu Perumtaccan, respected clan of traditional Vishwakarmas, as being the chief architect of the temple renovation. There have been several renovations in its history, particularly during the days of Pallava/Chola emperors in ancient and pre-medieval periods.

Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). The other four temples in this category are: Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara, Trichy (water), Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth)Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire), Thiruvanna malai and Srikalahasteeswara (wind), Srikalahasti.

The temple complex spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. It is an ancient and historic temple dedicated to Nataraja Swamy and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place. To the followers of Shaivism (Saivism) or the saivaite, the very word koil refers to Chidambaram. In the same way, to the followers of Vaishnavism it refers to Srirangam or Thiruvarangam.

Meaning of Nataraja Swamy Temple:

The word Chidambaram may be derived from chit, meaning “consciousness”, and ambaram, meaning “sky” (from aakasam or aakayam); it refers to the chidaakasam, the sky of consciousness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain according to all the Vedas and scriptures. Another theory is that it is derived from chit + ambalam. Ambalam means a “stage” for performing arts. The chidakasam is the state of supreme bliss or aananda and Lord Natarajar is the symbolic representation of the supreme bliss or aananda natanam. Saivaites believe that a visit to Chidambaram leads to liberation. Yet another theory is that it is derived from the word chitrambalam, from chithu meaning “play or dances of God” and ambalam meaning “stage”

Chidambaram Nataraja Temple Special Features:

A unique feature of this temple is the bejeweled image of Nataraja. It depicts Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murthi rather than the classic, anionic Lingam. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolises the motion of the universe as sustained by Lord Shiva. The temple has five courts. Aragalur Udaya Iraratevan Ponparappinan (alias Vanakovaraiyan) rebuilt the Siva temple at Chidambaram around 1213 AD. The same Bana Chief also built Tiruvannamalai temple.The temple has been traditionally administered by an endogamous group of shiavite brahmins called Dikshitar, who also officiate as its priest.

Chidambaram Nataraja Dharshan Timings:

Morning: 6.00am to 12.00 noon
Evening: 5.00.pm to 10.00 pm

Ardhajaamam Pooja starts at 9:00 pm with Abhishekam and ends at 10:00 pm.

Chidambaram Nataraja Dharshan Daily Pooja:

  • Time: 6.30 am Paal Nivedhyam.
    (Padhuka (Lord’s footwear) brought from palliyarai to sanctum santorum in a palanquin)
    7.00.a.m. Maha Aarthi.
  • 7.45 am to 9.00 am Kalasandhi Pooja (first pooja of the day)
    (Kalasandhi Homam, Spatika Linga Abhishekam and Maha Aarthi is Performed)
  • 10.00 am to 11.00 am Irandaam Kaalam (2nd pooja of the day)
    (Spatika Linga Abhishekam and Rathna Sabhapathi-Rubi Natarajar Abhishekam is Performed)
  • 11.30 am to 12.00 noon Uchikaalam (3rd pooja of the day)
    (Spatika Linga Abhishekam after Aarthi Temple will be closed)
  • 5.15 pm to 6.00 pm Saayarakshai (4th pooja of the day)
    (Spatika Linga Abhishekam and Shotasopachaara Aarthi is Performed)
  • 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm Irandaam Kaalam (5th pooja of the day)
    (Spatika Linga Abhishekam, Chidambara Rahasya Pooja, Maha Aarthi is Performed)
  • 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm Ardhajaamam (6th and last pooja of the day)
    (Spatika Linga Abhishekam, Maha Aarthi and then Padhuka comes back to palliyarai in a palanquin, Maha Aarthi at palliyarai, Chandeswarar Aarthi, Bhairavar Aarthi, Ardhajaama Sundharar Aarthi)
Chidambaram Nataraja Swamy

Archanaas to Chidambaram Natarajar:

Ashtoththara sathanaama
Sammelana Sahasranaama
Panchakshara Thrisathi
Pancha mukha sahasranaama
Ekasamaya Lakshaarchanaa

Abishekams to Chidambaram Natarajar:

Chandhramouleeswara spatikalinga abishekam
Rathnasahapathy abishekam
SwarnaAakarshanaBhairava abishekam
Mahanyaasa poorvaka Rudhraabishekam
Mahaarudhrajapa yagna sahitha mahaarudhram
Athirudhrajapa yagna sahitha athirudhram

Other Kainkaryams:

Annapaavaadai Mahaaneivedhyam
Mokshadheepam (for ancestors)
Sahasra Bhojanam

Mahaa Kumbha Abhishekam:

TO Sri Sivakaama Sundhari Sametha Sri Natarajaraja Moorthi between 7.00.a.m. and 8.30.a.m.
Kumbhabhisheka yaaga poojas start from 25.04.2015
02.05.2015 Saturday MahaaRathothsavam for Mahaakumbhabhishekam
03.05.2015 sunday Dharsan Festival for Mahaakumbhabhishekam

The Six Maha Abhishekas Performed to Sri Nataraja Swamy:

Chithirai Onam 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Aanithirumanjanam 3.30 am to 6.00 a.m
Aavani Chathurdhasi 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Purattasi Chathurdhasi 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Aardhraa Abhishekam 3.30 am to 6.00 am
Maasichathurdhasi 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm

Aani Thirumanjana Festival: (Dates not Mentioned)

Golden Sooryaprabha
Silver Chandraprabha
Silver Bhootha Vaahanam
Silver Rishabha Vaahanam (Theruvadaichan)
Silver Gaja Vaahanam
Golden Kailaasa Vaahanam
Bhikshadanar on Golden Car
Mahaa Rathothsavam of Sri Natarajaraja
Aanithirumanjanamaha Abhishekam 3.30 a.m. Aani Dharsanam after 12.00 noon

Thillai Nataraja Swamy Temple Story:

The story of Chidambaram begins with the legend of Lord Shiva strolling into the Thillai Vanam (Vanam meaning forest and thillai trees – botanical name Exocoeria agallocha, a species of mangrove trees – which currently grows in the Pichavaram wetlands near Chidambaram. The temple sculptures depicting the Thillai trees date back to the 2nd century CE).

In the Thillai forests resided a group of saints or ‘rishis’ who believed in the supremacy of magic and that God can be controlled by rituals and ‘mantras’ or magical words. The Lord strolls in the forest with resplendent beauty and brilliance, assuming the form of ‘Pitchatanadar’, a simple mendicant seeking alms. He is followed by his Grace and consort who is Lord Vishnu as Mohini. The rishis and their wives are enchanted by the brilliance and the beauty of the handsome mendicant and his consort. On seeing their womenfolk enchanted, the rishis get enraged and invoke scores of ‘serpents’ (Sanskrit: Nāga) by performing magical rituals. The Lord as the mendicant lifts the serpents and dons them as ornaments on his matted locks, neck and waist. Further enraged, the rishis invoke a fierce tiger, which the Lord skins and dons as a shawl around his waist. Thoroughly frustrated, the rishis gather all their spiritual strength and invoke a powerful demon Muyalakan – a symbol of complete arrogance and ignorance. The Lord wearing a gentle smile, steps on the demon’s back, immobilizes him and performs the Ánanda Thaandava (the dance of eternal bliss) and discloses his true form. The rishis surrender, realizing that this Lord is the truth and he is beyond magic and rituals.

The Ananda Thaandavam:

Adhisesha, the serpent who serves as a bed for the Lord in his manifestation as Vishnu, hears about the Änanda tandava and yearns to see and enjoy it. The Lord blesses him, beckons him to assume the saintly form of ‘Patanjali’ and sends him to the Thillai forest, informing him that he will display the dance in due course. Patanjali who meditated in the Himalayas during krita age joins another saint, Vyagrapathar / Pulikaalmuni (Vyagra / Puli meaning “Tiger” and patha / kaal meaning “feet” – referring to the story of how he sought and got the feet and eyesight of a tiger to help climb trees well before dawn to pick flowers for the Lord before the bees visit them). The story of sage Patanjali as well as his great student sage Upamanyu is narrated in both Vishnu Puranam as well as Siva Puranam. They move into the Thillai forest and worship Lord Shiva in the form of Shivalinga, a deity worshipped today as Thirumoolataneswarar (Thiru – Sri Moolatanam – primordial or in the nature of a foundation, Eswarar- the Lord). Legends say that Lord Shiva displayed his dance of bliss (the Aananda Thaandavam) – as Nataraja to these two saints on the day of the poosam star in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan – Feb).

The Ananda Tandava Posture:

The Ananda Tandava posture of Lord Shiva is one of the famous postures recognized around the world by many. This celestial dancing posture tells us how a Bharathanatium Dancer should dance.

  1. The demon under Nataraja’s feet signifies that ignorance is under his feet
  2. The Fire in this hand (power of destruction) means destroyer of evil
  3. The raised hand signifies that he is the savior of all life.
  4. The Ring at the back signifies the cosmos.
  5. The drum in his hand signifies the origin of Life.

These are the main things that the Natarajar murti and the celestial dance posture depict. A rare type of tandava posture seems in Melakadambur temple nearby 32 km from here. In this Karakoil, Nataraja dancing on a bull and deva’s rounds the structure it’s an pala art being kept in this shrine.

Chidambara Siva Temple

Chidambaram Temple Significance:

Chidambaram is also referred to in various works such as Thillai (after the Thillai forest of yore in which the temple is now located), Perumpatrapuliyur or Vyagrapuram் (in honor of Saint Vyagrapathar). The temple is supposed to be located at the Lotus heart of the Universe”: Virat hridaya padma sthalam. On the spot where the Lord displayed his dance of bliss, the Änanda Thaandavam – a spot exactly south of the “Thirumoolataaneswar temple”, today is the Ponnambalam/ Porsabai (Pon meaning gold, Ambalam/Sabai meaning stage) housing Lord Shiva in his dancing form. The Lord is also hence referred to as the Sabhanayakar, meaning the Lord of the Stage.

This gold-roofed stage is the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple and houses the Lord in three forms:
the “form” – the anthromorphological form as an appearance of Lord Nataraja, called the Sakala thirumeni.
the “semi-form” – the semi-anthropomorphological form as the Crystal linga of Chandramouleswarar, the Sakala nishkala thirumeni.
the “formless” – as the Space in Chidambara Rahasyam, an empty space within the sanctum sanctorum, the Nishkala thirumeni.

Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is also one of the five places where Lord Shiva is said to have displayed his dance and all these places have stages/ sabhais . Apart from Chidambaram which has the Por sabhai, the others are the Rathina sabhai at Thiruvaalangadu (rathinam – ruby / red) , the Chitra sabhai at Courtallam (chitra – painting), the Rajatha sabhai or the Velli ambalam at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple (rajatha / velli – silver) and the Thaamira sabhai at Nellaiappar Temple, Tirunelveli (thaamiram – copper).

Aardhraa Dharsana Festival: (Dates not Mentioned)

Golden Sooryaprabha
Silver Chandraprabha
Silver Bhootha Vaahanam
Silver Rishabha Vaahanam (Theruvadaichan)
Silver Gaja Vaahanam
Golden Kailaasa Vaahanam
Bhikshadanar on Golden Car
Mahaa Rathothsavam of Sri Natarajaraja
Aarudhra Maha Abhishekam 3.30a.m., Aani Dharsanam 2.00.p.m.

Other Festivals:
63 Naayanmaar Uthsavam
Sri Moolabaathar Mahaanna Abhishekam
Sri Sivakumasundhari Uthsavaarambam
Amman Rathothsavam
Poorachalankai Pattu Vaangal
Maalai Maatral, Kanoonjal, Thiru Kalyanam
Soora Samhaaram
Devesena Subrahmanyar Kalyanam
Thai Poosam – Panchamoorthy Veethi Purappadu, Theerthavari in Sivagangai,
Maha Shivaratri

How to Reach Chidambaram Nataraja Temple:

By Road: Frequent buses are available from all parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka to Chidambaram. From Bus Stand private run taxis and autos are available to reach the temple.
By Rail: Trichy Railway Station is the nearest.
By Air: The nearest airport is Trichy 195 Kms.

Accommodation Details (Some of the hotel details):

Arudhra Residency – 04144 221930
Dhaya mansion – 04144 220299
Hotel Akshaya – 04144 220191
Hotel Darshan – 04144 220194
Hotel Sabanayagam – 04144 220896
Hotel Saradaram – 04144 221337
Hotel Grand park – 04144 220859

Train From South towards Chidambaram:

Train No – 16176 – Chennai express – 0.04 am
Train No – 16180 – Mannai express – 0.38 am
Train No – 16702 – Chennai express – 1.19 am
Train No – 16736 – TCN Chennai express – 6.26 am
Train No – 16854 – Chennai express – 11.50 am

From North towards Chidambaram:

Train No – 16175 – Karaikal express – 3.44 am
Train No – 16179 – Mannai express – 2.18 am
Train No – 16701 – Rameswaram express – 1.37 am
Train No – 16735 – Tiruchendur express – 20.29
Train No – 16853 – Trichy express – 12.52 pm

Temples near Nataraja Swamy Temple:

Thillai Kali
Kolanji Appar

Chidambaram Shiva Temple Address:

Thillai Nataraja Swamy Temple,
Tamil Nadu – 608001.

Chidambaram Nataraja Temple Timings, Poojas, History, Sevas

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