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Om Namashivaya   Om Namashivaya

Temple History


A Round of the Natarajar Temple

          The Chidambaram Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva (or Siva) in His form of the Cosmic Dancer, Natarajar, is a temple complex spread over 40 acres. To the follower of Shaivism or Saivism, (the saivaite), the very word ‘Koyil ’ or Temple refers to the Chidambaram temple. In the same way, to the followers of Vaishnavism (the religion followed by the devotees of Lord Vishnu) it refers to Srirangam or Thiruvaramgam. The word Chidambaram is derived from ‘Chit’, meaning ‘consciousness’ and ‘ambalam’, meaning stage; thus it refers to the stage of consciousness where the Lord dances. Saivaites believe that a mere visit to Chidambaram leads to salvation.

          It is usual for the devotee or tourist to commence his visit to the extensive temple-complex of Natarajar and Sivakamasundari at Chidambaram from the east -- though some consider entry from the south obligatory or preferable, since the Natarajar shrine faces the south. During festival time, the processional deities emerge from the temple premises only through the eastern gateways and also return to base only through them after perambulation along the four car streets -- a pattern which applies also to the icons of Natarajar and Sivakamasundari on the car-festival days.




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