Chidambaram Nataraja temple, ancient painting in Goddess Temple
Nataraja and Shivakamasaundari with devotees

In Chidambaram we find the original temple of Nataraja the Dancing Shiva, Lord of Cosmic Dance. In Chidambaram Shiva dances the Cosmic dance of Creation and Destruction as Nataraja, King of Dance. The dance of the atoms, stars and galaxies.

It can lay claim to many unique features. The Trimurti or Trinity of Hinduism, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer are all worshipped within one complex.

Shiva, who is the presiding deity of this temple, is worshipped here in three aspects: as form; as formless form; and as formless. Besides being one of the largest temples in India, it is one of the very few temples practicing the Vedic tradition and rituals, where all other temples follow the Agamic doctrine of worship. The Vedic doctrine centers on the performance of the Yagna or fire sacrifice. This doctrine has been preserved by a community of hereditary priests is an unbroken, oral tradition.  Called Deekshithars, they have been the guardians of the temple and its traditions since prehistoric times.

At the time of the Chariot Festival the main murti or image of the shrine, the Nataraja himself, is taken out for the procession, whereas in other temples special festival murtis are taken in procession, while the main murti remains in the temple sanctum.

This temple is open to all, without discrimination. The temple instructs visitors not to photograph or film any deities under worship.