The Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, was the 3rd of the 5 Panchabootha Sthalas, that we visited. We went there by night, right after visiting Thanjavur, so I was not able to take any pictures of the temple.
Going to a very big and famous temple by night was indeed very very beautiful. This was actually one of the most beautiful, precious and unforgettable moments, and I can’t explain how divine it was. As we went there about 7 pm, and therefore could watch the Irandaam Kaala pooja, which is the 5th pooja during the day. Experiencing this pooja, that inclued the Chidambara Rahasya Pooja and Maha Aarathi, indeed so beautiful to watch both the pooja and the great idol of lord Nataraja.
Of the 5 elements, this temple is dedicated to the Sky, and to lord Nataraja, the lord of dance. The deity of Nataraja, in the presence of performing Aanandha Thaandavam, is to be seen in the Pon Ambalam (the Shrine of the Golden Hall). The name Chidambaram, which is the name of both the town and the temple, means “atmosphere of wisdom”. The was built in the 10th century CE, while Chidambaram was th capital of te Chola Dynasty.
If you ask me, I would say that Chidambaram is a must visit. Go there, day or night, to explore the divinity and the beautiful architecture. You’ll feel so blessed!
The legend goes back to the incident, where Shiva in the form of a beggar, accompanied by Mohini – actually lord Vishnu in a beautiful female form – to a mythical Pine forest. Mohini triggers lustful interests in the sages, while Shiva performs thandavam to trigger the lust in the wives of the sages. The people then realized how superficial their austerity is. Later, 2 sages – Patanjali and Vyaghrapada – wanted to see the dance of lord Shiva in the Thillai (today Chidambaram). They set up a Shiva Lingam, pray and meditate. Shiva, impressed by this, appears in front of them in Chidambaram and perform thaandavam.
I really, really hope to go back to Chidambaram in future, to explore both daytime and night poojas, and to explore the atmosphere around the temple. The moments in the temple was one of the most unforgettable experiences. Next time, I’ll come back with loads of pictures too 😉
Uchi Pillaiyar Temple in Trichy, was the first temple to visit during the roadtrip in Tamil Nadu. Hereafter, we went to Jambukeshwarar temple, that is located on the Srirangam Island, but in the area called Thiruvanaikaval. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the temple..
The temple of Thiruvanaikaval is the 1st among the 5 Panchabootha Sthalas, that are dedicated to lord Shiva though this was the 2nd of 5 temples, we went to. This temple is dedicated to the element water. It is also one among the 275 Paadal Petra Sthala Temples, and is mentioned by all 4 important nayanmargal/Samaya Kuravargal in their works. The temple was built by the tamil king Kochenganan (Senganaan), who was a king in the early Chola dynasties, and lived in the 6th/7th century CE. Later it was expanded by the Hoysala king, Someswara.
Thiru Ekambaranaathar Temple was the last Panchabootha Sthala to visit. It is located in the town of Kanchipuram, that is north of Thiruvannamalai, and east of Vellore, which was the town we visited after Thiruvannamalai – and before Kanchipuram – which I’ll be posting about later 😉
Kanchipuram is another very old town, and was the early capital of the Chola Dynasty. It later became the capital of the Pallava Dynasty, and the Cholas shifted to Tanjore. It has a rich history, going back to more than a millenium, and has been an important city for not only Hinduism, but also Jainism and Buddhism. The world-known Bodhidharma was in fact a Pallava Prince from this town. Kanchipuram is today known for its beautiful silk sarees (and of course this temple). After visiting the temple, we went to a smaller company that produces and sell handloom pure silk sarees. It was quite interesting to see them working. My mum bought some sarees too.
Talking about the Panchabootha Stalas, Thiruvannamalai is the place of the most important legend in Saivism. We were lucky to visit the temple at daytime, and had a lot of time to worship and do archanai, and to look around the temple. It is indeed one of the most beautiful temples I’ve visited so far. It’s known for its massive gopurams (temple towers), with a history going back to the 11th century, while the main temple is believed to be much older – more than 2000 years old, with mentions in Thevaaram and Thiruvasagam songs. Unfortunately, there’s not been done anything to protect the temple so far, but there is an appeal going on to UNESCO to make the temple a world heritage monument.
The town of Thiruvannamalai is located near the mountain with the same name, and with the temple at the mountain. This mountain plays a very important role in Saivism. It is also one of the 275 places that has been praised in Thevaaram and Thiruvasagam songs.
I went to Tamil Nadu, India back in 2010, which was a different experience. I’ve visited Sri Lanka, and I actually thought Tamil Nadu was similar, but it wasn’t really. Tamil Nadu (mainly the places we went to) is much more crowded than Sri Lanka, while I’d say Sri Lanka seems more peaceful and more beautiful.
During our stay in Tamil Nadu, we mostly stayed in Chennai, but went to lots of hindu temples all over the state. This was including the Pancha Bootha Stalas, where one of the 5 temples is located in Andhra Pradesh, and Aarupadai Veedu and then we went to Thirupathi, that is located in Andhra Pradesh too.