Raja Deekshithar, high priest of the Chidambaram Nataraja temple.
Raja Deekshithar 1949-2010, independent scholar and author

Raja Deekshithar (R.N.Natarajarathina Deekshithar, 1949-2010) dedicated his life to the temples and traditions of Shiva Nataraja en Tillai Ambal in Chidambaram, and to his community, family, friends and students. A devotee, a scholar and a progressive thinker, research, analysis and physical proof were the instruments with which he clarified the meaning and value of these ancient traditions. Raja’s vision was to construct a bridge between ancient concepts and modern understanding. His special interest was with comparative studies of ancient civilisations and his own, such as the Egyptian, Greek, and Mayan. This led him to the discovery of the presence of the sphinx in Indian art. He always searched for the meaning behind the symbolism incorporated in myth, ritual and art. Dr.Sharada Srinivasan wrote  “(Raja Deekshithar) was truly remarkable as an openminded and generous scholar and humanist, and something of a Renaissance personality in his abilities, interests and writings in so many fields, in art history, archaeoastronomy, and compositions for dance and music…” His passing left many projects in progress unfinished. His family, sons Kandhan, Jayakumar and Sankar, and his student Liesbeth Pankaja Bennink are carrying these forward. Among his publications are a book on the Shiva Nataraja temple in Chidambaram “The Hidden Treasure in the City of Ether”, and articles on astro-archaeology and the earliest known relief of Shiva’s Ananda Tandava in the Nageshvara temple in Kumbakonam.

You can read Raja Deekshithar’s articles HERE