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Tradition Meets

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Temples of Tamilnadu


Two Bhrammotsavams (annual festivals) at Chidambaram are of great significance, as they involve colorful processions of festival deities in the car streets. The grandest of these occurs in the month of Margazhi (Dec 15 - Jan 15), concluding on the full moon day corresponding to the Arudra Darisanam festival (Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu).

This ten day festival at Chidambaram involves a grand scheme of traditional observances commencing with the hoisting of the temple flag on the first day, followed by colorful procesions of the five deities (Pancha Murthys) on the first eight days on various mounts. The fifth day features Mount Kailasam, while the sixth day features the elephant mount.

It is only on the ninth day that Nataraja leaves his sanctum, and is taken in a procession through the car streets, in the grand temple car. This is a special occasion and crowds throng to see it. Local fishermen communities traditionally offer gifts to Nataraja during this procession.

Nataraja then returns to the Raja Sabha of the temple, where in the pre-dawn hours of the next day, while the moon is full, special abhishekams are performed to Nataraja, in the presence of tens of thousands of devotees, and this ritual is followed by the royal audience of Nataraja in the Raja Sabha. In the afternoon, Nataraja returns to the shrine ceremoniously from the Raja Sabha, amidst an enactment of the Ananda Tandavam or the Dance of Bliss.

The second of the Bhrammotsavams happens in the month of Aani (June - July)  and it concludes with Aani Tirumanjanam on the tenth day, in a manner similar to Arudra Darisanam in Margazhi. It is interesting that these annual Bhrammotsavams or festivals happen in the tamil  months immediately preceding the summer and winter solstices (ie. Gemini and Sagittarius).

Several other festivals centered around Nataraja and Sivakami are celebrated here throughout the year - Maasi Makam being one of the more significant ones.

Live dance performances have been introduced to the temple recently, in the form of annual dance festivals.