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Nataraja Temple UPSC NOTE


Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

  • Thillai Nataraja Temple, also referred as the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple.

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nataraja, the form of Shiva as the lord of dance. 

  • This temple is located in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.

  • Chidambaram, the name of the city literally means "stage of consciousness".

  • The temple architecture symbolizes the connection between the arts and spirituality, creative activity and the divine.

  • The temple wall carvings display all the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni, and these postures form a foundation of Bharatanatyam.

  • The present temple was built in the 10th century when Chidambaram was the capital of the Chola dynasty, making it one of the oldest surviving active temple complexes in South India.

  • While Shiva as Nataraja is the primary deity of the temple, it reverentially presents major themes from Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and other traditions of Hinduism.

  • It is also a site for performance arts, including the annual Natyanjali dance festival on Maha Shivaratri.


  • The temple as it stands had a pre-Chola existence and the architecture is a combination of Chola and Pandyan architecture.

  • Sanctum Sanctorum closely resembling Kerala or Malabar style structures.

  • The golden roof is a striking example of Vesara architecture with its apsidal shape.

Issues over administration

  • The administration of the temple has been a contentious subject between the Podhu Dikshitars (administrators-cum-priests) and the State government.

  • A 2014 judgment of the Supreme Court reinforced the right of the Dikshithars to administer the temple and reaffirmed their position as a religious denomination.

  • The latest incident, which sparked a row between the Dikshithars and the State government’s Hindu Religous and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.

  • Denial of access to devotees to the Kanagasabai mandapam for worship during four days of Aani Thirumanjanam, a festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Aani.

  • The Dikshithars feel that it is customary not to permit devotees atop the mandapam for reasons including the security of jewellery. 

  • HR&CE officials argue against the denial of permission to the devotees on any day.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Nataraja Temple UPSC NOTE
Nataraja Temple UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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