In this photo from the archive we see an overview of the Western area of the Shiva Nataraja temple in Chidambaram. Here we have the southern part of the Shivaganga, the tirtha or sacred water place, the 100 pillars Hall and the West Gopuram.


The Shivaganga Tirtha of the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram in the 1800s


The 100 Pillars Hall which is at present very dilapidated is clearly and beautifully visible on this photo. It shows the hall was open on all sides, with the entrance towards the south. We have here a clear panoramic view of the temple from before the time many changes were made. The West Gopuram is only decorated with miniature shrines in the form of shalas, kutis and karnakutis. The pavilion at the top of the steps into the Shivaganga has an elevated roof with stupi. This means it would have been consecrated as a shrine.

The authors would like to thank the Digital South Asian Library for its kind permission to reproduce the six photos of the Shri Shiva Nataraja temple in Chidambaram.

All other photos by the authors.