Thillai Natarajar Temple is situated in Chidambaram, state of Tamilnadu, India. Thillai Natarajar Temple is also called as Chidambaram Temple. The temple is dedicated to both the divinities Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple, which is also called as ‘Thiru Chitrakoodam‘ temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and it is revered as one of the 108 Divya Desam Temples, which is situated inside the temple premises of Thillai Natarajar temple.
Thillai Natarajar Temple is one among the Pancha Bhoota temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva and these five temples are said to be the important pilgrimage places of South India. ‘Pancha’ refers to number ‘five’ and ‘Bhoota’ refers to ‘elements’. The five elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky. Thillai Natarajar temple represent the element ‘Sky’. The five elements are manifested in the form of five Lingams, a representation of Lord Shiva.
The Pancha Bhoota Temples are:
- Ekambareswarar Temple (Kanchipuram)
- Jambukeshwarar Temple (Tiruchirapalli)
- Arunachaleswara Temple (Tiruvannamalai)
- Sri Kalahastheeswara Temple (Andhra)
- Thillai Natarajar Temple (Chidambaram)
Thillai Natarajar Temple is mostly contributed by the Pallava, Chola, Chera and Vijayanagar Kings.The temple’s four monumental towers at a height of 135 feet with 13 Kalasams (finials) faces four directions. The North monumental tower is contributed by Vijayanagar Kings, East tower by Pallava Kings, and no information is available about the west tower.
Fortes of Thillai Natarajar Temple
Thillai Natarajar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.The Lord Shiva is seen in the pose of Lord Nataraja performing Anandha Thandavam, the dance of delight and with the saints Patanjali and Vyagrapathar worshipping Him.
The main deity of this temple is Lord Shiva, who is found in the form of Lord Natarajar, the Lord of dance. The other deity of this temple is Goddess Shivakami Amman, Lord Ganesh, Lord Murugan, Lord Vishnu. Thillai Natarajar Temple also exhibit Lord Shiva in three different forms.
The three forms are:
- Nataraja (dancing posture of Lord Shiva) is called as Sakala-thirumeni.
- Crystal Lingam of Chandramaulishvara is called as Sakala-nishkala-thirumeni.
- An empty space which is known as Chidambara Ragasiyam and is called as Nishkala-thirumeni.
The sculptures of this temple reveals the famous Bharatha Natyam, one of the oldest dance forms of India. The temple has nine gateways, representing the nine aperture of human body. The roof of the temple is made of golden tiles of 72000 spikes again representing the number of Nadis (vital force and mental force flow through every part of our body via these nadis) in our body. And finally the sanctum sanctorum has 28 pillars which represents the 28 ethics or methods of worshipping Lord Shiva.
The five great Halls of the Temple are:
- Chit Ambalam, the home of the main deity Lord Shiva.
- Pon Ambalam, daily rituals performing hall.
- Natya Sabai, where Lord Nataraja established His supremacy in dance to Goddess Kali.
- Raja Sabai, a hundred pillard hall, representing the Yogic Chakra, a seat where the divine soul unites with god.
- Deva Sabai, which represents the Pancha Moorthys (five deities), Lord Ganesha, Lord Somaskanda, Goddess Sivananda Nayaki, Lord Muruga and Lord Chandikeswarar.
- Kala Sandhi Pooja – 7.30 a.m.
- Irandam Kaalam Pooja – 10.00 a.m.
- Uchi Kaala Pooja – 11.30 p.m.
- Irandam Kaalam Pooja – 7.00 p.m.
- Artha Jaama Pooja – 9.00 p.m.
Festivals of Thillai Natarajar Temple
- Masi Festival – February or March
- Thai Poosam – January or February
- Maha Shivaratri – February or March
- Rathotsava Festival (car festival) – October or November
The nearest airport is Trichy (195 Km) & Chennai (235Km)
Chidambaram is well connected by train and bus routes from these places.
Chidambaram is the nearest station. It is connected with Tiruchirapalli, Madras, Madurai (335 km), Rameshwaram (575 km), Bangalore (340 km), and Tirupati (290 km).
Frequent buses are available from various places in Tamilnadu, Andhra, and Karnataka to Chidambaram. The best way to reach Chidambaram from Chnaien is via Pondicherry (east coast Road).It takes 4 hours by car to reach Chidambaram from Chennai.