Presiding deity Tirumoola Nathar is a swayambumurthi. Yet, Lord Nataraja is the ruling deity. Of the panchabhoodha sthalas (places) Chidambaram belongs to Akasha. The hymns sung by Gnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar and Sundarar were found from this temple only.
Uthrashaada (2,3,4), Shraavan, Dhanishta (1,2)
Sri Thillai Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram-608 001, Cuddalore district.
Phone: +91 9349944261,+91 9443635280.
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
10 day Margazhi festival in December–January begins on the day prior to Tiruvadhirai star day with flag hoisting. The importance of the festival is that it is dedicated to Saivite Saint Manickavasagar. During the evening pujas of the festival, the saint is taken to the main shrine, where Arati is offered to Lord with chanting of Tiruvempavai songs authored by the saint. During the morning pujas the saint is honoured with Arati.
An event called Vidayathi festival is celebrated both for the Lord and the saint. 10 day Aani Tirumanjanam begins with flag hoisting 10 days earlier of Uthira star day. From day one to eight of the festival procession deities Somaskanda, Shivananda Nayaki, Vinayaka, Subramania and Chandeswararm (panchamurthis) are taken in procession in silver and gold vahans.
On holy days as Tiruvadhirai star day in Chithirai (April–May) and new moon days, Lord Natarajamurthi grants darshan on the banks of Shiva Ganga theertham and in the following Tamil months too on this star day. Night festivals are celebrated in the temple in all months–Chithirai to Panguni (April–May to March–April) on the first day of the month, Tiruvadhirai and Karthikai star days, new moon and full moon days, Fridays and Pradosha days.
Sage Vasishta, revered as leader of the Rishis had a relative Madyandinar by name. He had a son named Maadyandinar. Sage Vasishta advised that the boy should worship the Swayambulinga in Thillai Vanam forests for gaining complete spiritual wisdom. Son Maadyandinar reached this place. He was sad that he lost his puja time in picking up flowers after sunrise and these flowers were not pure as the honey in the same are taken away by the bees.
He appealed to Lord Shiva saying that he was unable to pick the flowers in darkness due to lack of light and the flowers become unfit if picked after sunrise.Lord granted him hands and legs as that of a tiger to climb the tree and a bright vision to the eyes functioning well even in utter darkness. Lord also said that he would be known henceforth as Vyakrapada as he had the legs as a tiger. Vyakrapada was too happy with the boon and continued his worship in Thillai.
Lord Shiva is in three forms in Chidambaram, as visible idol form, formless as Akasha or space and form as a Spatika Linga.
What is Chidambara Rahasyam – secret?: There is small entrance near Lord Sabanayaka in the Chit Saba. The screen is removed and an arati is offered. There is nothing in a form inside. But there hangs a golden Vilwa garland without a Murthi. The secret is that the Lord is here as Akasha which has no beginning or an end. This can be understood only by experience. Of the Panchabhoodha Sthals, Chidambaram belongs to Akasha.
Chit + Ambaram= Chidambaram. Chit means wisdom. Ambaram means broad open space not measurable. It was here in Chidambaram that the hymns of the three great Saivite Saints were discovered. They sang thousands of hymns in many Shiva Sthals they visited. But they were not available to the devotees.
Tirunarayur Nambiandar Nambi and king Tirumurai Kanda Chozhan fell at the feet of Lord Polla Pillayar Vinayaka to guide them in the matter. With the blessings of Lord Vinayaka, they came to know that all these great spiritual literatures with the signatures of the respective authors are hidden in this temple. They rushed to Chidambaram and worshipped the authors. They found the palm leaves covered by anthill and mostly consumed by insects. Yet they picked up the available full leaves and saved them. All these invaluable spiritual literatures would have been totally lost but for the painstaking and devout labour of Nambiandar Nambigal and Tirumurai Kanda Chozhan.
It is said that the four Saivite Saints entered the temple through the four entrances of the temple, Manickavasagar through the east, Gnanasambandar from south, Appar from west and Sundarar from the north. Appar-Tirunavukkarasar did his Angapradakshina in the car street (Ratha Veedhi) of Chidambaram. Saint Manickavasagar cured the dumb daughter of the Buddhist king of Lanka with the blessings of Lord in the temple. There are five Sabhas in the temple Chittrambalam, Ponnambalam, Perambalam, Niruddha Sabha and Rajatha Sabha.
The shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are so structured that the devotees can have twin darshan from one spot in the temple. This is a temple where Brahmma, Vishnu and Rudra grace the devotees together. Saint Arunagirinathar had praised Lord Muruga of this temple in ten of his Tirupugazh hymns. Many believe that Lord Nataraja is the presiding deity of this temple. The presiding deity is Adhimoola Nathar in the Linga form.
Sages Patanjali and Vyakrapada wished that people of this earth too should have the chance to view and enjoy the great dance of Lord Shiva performed at Mount Kailash. They came to earth and sat in penance on Adhimoolanathar for the purpose. Responding to their selfless penance for the common people, Lord Shiva along with Tri Sahasra Muniswaras 3000 sages came to this place and granted His dance darshan in Thai month (January-February) on Poosam Star day at 12.00 a.m. These 3000 Muniswaras then came to known as Thillai Moovayiravar.
Chidambaram is a holy place that ensures total salvation to the souls. For salvation, one should have his/her birth at Tiruvarur or live in Kanchi or think of Tiruvannamalai or die in Kasi. If one worships Lords Tirumoolanathar and Nataraja at Chidambaram at least once in life time, salvation is reserved for the soul.