Akasha Lingam


Fire, Water, Earth, Space and Air are the five elements that govern all the Organisms in the universe and Shiva established five forms in the name of the elements. Shiva established Arunachaleswar (Fire), Jambukeswar (Jala or Water), Ekambareshwar (Earth) and Natarajar (Space or Akash) in Tamil Nadu and Sri Kalahasteeswara (Air) in Andhra Pradesh. Chidambaram is the third among the Pancha Bhoota Ling located in Tamil Nadu State and represents Space or Akash. Natarajar is the principle deity in Chidambaram. Chidambaram is also called as Chittambalam represents knowledge and intelligence. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the dancing pose with one leg in the air and four arms. The deity honoured as Natarajar in the form of a celestial Dancer and Lord Shiva appear in the Ananda Tandavam dancing position taken from his victory upon Goddess Kali whom he defeated in the competition judged by Lord Vishnu.

Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple

The word Chidambaram derived from chit, meaning awareness and ambaram, means “sky” or Akash. It refers to the chidakasha, the sky of awareness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain according to Legends What is Chidambara Rahasya (Secret)? Natarajar removes self ego and selfishness from the mood screen. It is the process of wiping out ignorance and revealing the existence of the absolute God. The meaning of Chidambara Rahasyam is when the devotee perfectly self presents to God eliminating his ignorance and enjoys this existence of God attaining salvation. That is why it is called Chidambara Rahasyam. The darshan of the Space (Akasha) Ling requires so much practice. Natarajar with Goddess Siva Kama Sundari is in the Shrine. There will be a circular arch called Prabha and a spear with a golden Bilva mala behind the Shiva Ling and are worshipped by the devotees. There will be nothing behind it. People used the term Chidambara Rahasyam to top secrets that were not to be revealed to others. The Shrine is auspicious and everyone has to visit during their lifetime. 

The 108 Karanas of India’s classical choreography written by Brahma Muni are engraved on the walls of the temple. The present temple was built during the reign of Chola Kings who believed Nataraj as their principal deity and ruled their kingdom Chidambaram as capital. Subsequently the temple was modified with expansion several times. The Sakthi and Vaishnav and other traditions will appear in the temple on par with the principal deity Nataraj. There the idols  of Lord Surya ascended the Chariot, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in  the temple. There are large porches namely Chit Sabha, Kanaka Sabha, Darbar, Nritya Sabha and Deva Sabha for the convenience of the devotees. A Chakra contains five letters నమశ్శివాయ on the wall back to the deity. There will be five steps leads to the deity represents five letters నమశ్శివాయ. Shiva will appear as Nataraj in the pose performing joyful dance at Golden porch called as Pooriambalam. 


The Cosmic Dance of Natarajar exhibits activities of creation, preservation, destruction, Maya and blessing. Govinda Perumal Shrine is in the complex. Natyanjali festival will be organized on Maha Shivaratri.                  

As per the article significance of Chidambaram written in legends of more than eight hundred years ago, Shiva in the form of a dancer accompanied with Lord Vishnu in the form of a beautiful women Mohini met the sages in the mythical Pine Forest. Mohini triggers lustful interest of the sages, while Shiva performs Tandava dance that triggers the carnal interest of the wives of these sages. The sages realised their physical weakness. Two sages Pathanjali and Vyagrapada want to see the repeat performance of this “dance of bliss” in the Thaillai forest, Chidambaram. They have established, prayed and meditated about Shiva. Shiva, impressed by their devotion, appeared and performed ‘Ananda Tandav’ in Chidambaram. The temple thus started as per Tamil Stal Purana. 

As per another legend, some Sages in Thillai forest believed the significance of Witchcraft and the God may be controlled with chanting Mantra and performing rituals. Lord Shiva assuming the form of ‘Pitchatanadar’, a simple mendicant wandered in the forest seeking alms followed by Vishnu in the form of Mohini. The Sages and their wives are enchanted by the brilliance and the beauty of the handsome mendicant and his consort. Seeing their consorts enchant, the Sages get angry and invoked scores of Snakes by performing magical rituals. Siva as mendicant lifted and wears the serpents as ornaments on his locks, neck and waist. The sages invoked a fierce tiger and the Lord skins and dons as a shawl around his waist. The sages got frustrated and gathered all their spiritual strength and invoked a powerful demon Muyalakari. Pitchatanadar, disclosing his true form, steps on the demon’s back with a gentle smile and performs the Ananda Thandavam. The Sages realised that the Lord is nothing but truth and he is beyond magic and rituals. Everyone has gone on pilgrimage to Chidambaram to visit Natarajar during lifetime.