Shiva’s largest temple,
Chidambaram Natraj Mandir –
District Cuddalore,Tamil Nadu.
Chidambaram Natraj Temple, Shivaji’s largest temple, is located in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. This temple is spread over 40 acres. The temple was built in the 10th century by the Chola kings, at that time Chidambaram used to be the capital of the Chol dynasty. The Chola dynasty used to consider Natraj as his family deity and therefore the Natraj Temple was constructed. This temple is one of the oldest living temples of South India and the glory of the temple is still intact. Most of the temple building its architecture and structure that we see today was build in the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century, addition and all new construction in temples afterwords have been done in the same style as well. Natraj form of Shiva is depicted in Chidambaram Natraj Mandir but with the reverence, the main subjects of Shaktism, Vaishnavism and other traditions of Hinduism have also been presented in the temple.
The walls of the temple are equipped with fine carvings, in which all 108 postures created by Bharat Muni can be seen which form the foundation of the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam. The word Chidambaram means “an atmosphere of knowledge” or “engraved in thoughts” and it is the same for both city and temple. Temple architecture is a symbol of the relationship between art and spirituality, creative activity and divine. Shiva devotee considers Chidambaram Natraj Mandir as one of the five primary Linga, and this temple holds the highest place among all Shiva temples of Hinduism.