Natarajar Temple : This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as Natarajar is one of the Five Sabhas [divine stages] where Lord Siva performed the Cosmic Dance. The traditional name of the temple is Tillai Nataraja-koothan Kovil. Chidambaram is a Pancha Bootha Sthalam, representing Akasam [Sky], one of the five elements of nature. The other four being Tiruvanaikoil [water]. Kanchi Ekambareswarar [earth], Tiruvannamalai [fire] and Kalahasthi [air]. It is believed that Viduvelvidugu Perumtaccan, respected clan of traditional Vishwakarmas, was the chief architect of the temple’s renovation. This temple has 9 gateways, Four majestic 7 tiered towers and Sikaram covered with Gold Plates. The architecture of this temple is unique and dedicated to the art of Bharatha Natyam, a classical dance form of the State of Tamil Nadu. Lord Shiva the Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal enshrined in one complex facing each other, emphasizing siva-vishnu concept is a special feature of this temple. It is also believed that Celestial dance contest of Siva – Parvati took place in the presence of Lord Vishnu. Lord Nataraja has been installed in the Chit Sabha, the Sanctum Sanctorum. Akasa Lingam called as the Chidambara Rahasyam [Secret of Chidambaram] behind the Screen is believed to be there. Goddess Sivakama Sundari is enshrined to the left of Nataraja. The Five silver steps upto the Sanctum Sanctorum is the respected as the Pantchatchara Mantram Na Ma Si Va Ya [Namasivaya]. The Spatika Lingam of Chandramauleeswara, Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, Mukhalingam are also inside Sanctum Sanctorum. Kanaga Sabha, for performing Poojas; Deva Sabha meant for celebration of important festivals; and Raja Sabha measuring 103 meters by 58 meters, a 1000 pillared hall where Sekizhar believed to have recited Periya Puranam are located in the temple. It is believed that Lord Siva Performed the Cosmic dance to please [Ananda Natanam] to Sages Patanjali and Vyakrapada.
This temple has 6 time Pooja Format everyday. Before every Pooja, anointment is performed for the Spatika Lingam[Crystal Lingam]. ONLY during the Second Pooja around 10 am, along with Spatika Lingam – A Special Abishekam is performed to the very special The Ruby Natarajar called as Rathna Sababathy , the One foot replica of Natarajar beautifully made out of highly expensive Gem- Ruby. The speciality of this Ruby Natarajar is that, when the Harathi [Deepam/light] is shown from the front it’s view is dark. Whereas, when the Harathi [Deepam/light] is shown from behind the replica, it displays a mesmeric and awesome exhibit of the workmanship and devotees, on witnessing this spectacle, completely get immersed in Bakthi of Natarajar. Ani Thirumanjanam, Arudhra Darshan [December] – the two annual Brahmotsavams, Natyanjali are the important festivals of this temple.
Thillai Kali Temple : Kali is the furious form of Goddess Parvati. In this form she is believed to destroy the evils of the world and the evil doers too. This Temple of Kali is believed to have been built by Chola King Kopperumsingan [1229- 1278]. Here Kali appears with four faces like Brahma. A shrine for Goddess Saraswathy as Veena Vidyambika and Lord Dakshinamoorthy in feminine form [ only temple in this form] called as Kadambavana Dakshina Rubini is also located in this temple complex. Legend goes thus: To ascertain supremacy, Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi performed a cosmic dance contest at Chidambaram in the presence of Vishnu and Brahma. Siva played the OORDHVA Thandava and raised his left leg upward, due to the feminine trait Parvathi could not do such act and accepted the defeat. She became furious and moved to this location as Kali. Lord Brahmma appeared and praised Kali as Veda Nayaki to calm down. Accepting his prayer she appeared as Brahma Chamundeswari with four faces. There is a separate shrine of goddess in this form. She is also called as the Ellai [Village boundary] Kali. Devotees worship here on Sundays between 4.30 - 6.00 p.m. [Rahukalam]; poornima or the full moon days and on Amavasya days seeking relief from worldly problems.
Sirgazhi Temple : It is 20 Kms from Chidambaram and an important Saivite temple located between Chidambaram and Myladuthurai. It is the 14th temple of the Chola region on the Northern Kaveri banks maintained by Dharmapura Adhinam. This is a temple revered with 71 Thevara Pathikams [most numbers] by Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar and a special Bhairava worhip temple with Shrines of Sattainathar and Ashta[eight] Bhairavars [Asithanga Bahairava, Guru Bhairava, Chanda Bhairava, Krotha Bhairava, Unmatha Bhairava, Samhara Bhairava, Peeshana Bhairava and Akhala Bhairava].
This is a Majestic and big temple complex with Three Shrines of Lord Siva in this temple Complex. The Ground level or the lower level of the complex that houses the shrine of Brahmapureeswarar, named because Lord Brahmma is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. There is an elevated small hillock structure with around 50 to 60 steps. The second shrine of Periyanayagar and Periyanayagi [Uma-Maheswarar]on a Thoni[boat] is located on this hillock, hence he is also called as Thoniappar. By climbing few steps from this shrine one can worship Sattainathar/Vatukanathar, incarnated as Bhairavar. Through the windows on this hillock shrines one can view the entire layout of this Temple, specially the shrine of Ashta Bairavars.
Three huge Courtyards, Two 7 tier Rajagopurams and 22 Theerthams [holy water bodies]associated with this shrine are located in the temple complex. Expansion plans of the original temple complex took place during the periods of Kulottunga I, Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and III.
1] Thirugnana Sambandar, the youngest of the saivite saints, born to Sivapada Hrudayar, as a very small boy, once went along with his father to the temple tank. Sivapadar leaving sambandar on the steps when to bathe. Hungry Sambandar started crying for food, Lord Siva asked Parvathi to feed the boy. Along with milk she also fed the abundance of wisdom to Sambandar.
2] Lord.Vishnu measured the third step, as per the wish, on the head of King Mahabali to fulfill the boon. Lord Vishnu became haughty and he was afflicted by the Dosha of elimination of King Maha Bali. At this juncture, to play down that pride and arrogance and to establish both Siva and Vishnu are one element of Godliness, Lord Siva incarnated as Vatuga Bairavar wore the Skin of Vishnu as his upper Garment and the bones as Mala [garland].
3] It is believed that Lord Siva along with Parvathi Saved all the 64 Arts by travelling in a Thoni [Boat] during a devastating deluge and landed at Sirgazhi at this temple site, hence he is called Thoniappar and the town is also called Thonipuram.
Brahmotsavam that begins on the Chithirai Thiruvadhirai [April-May] which includes the event of Goddess Parvathi feeding milk to Sambandar; Thailabishekam [Oil Abishekam]to Lord Uma Maheshwar / Thoniappar on the first day of the months of Chithirai, Aadi, Aipasi, Thai , Karthigai Deepam, Margazhi Thiuvadhirai and Maha Sivarathiri are some important festivals of the Temple. Special pujas are performed here on Ashtami days [eighth day of new moon or full moon night] to Bhairavar. No abishekam is performed for Sattai Nathar but Fragrant Punugu Sattam [Paste] is applied to Sattainathar on all Fridays at midnight.