Six worship services
are offered in this temple each day at the shrine of Nataraja - the last
of which is the ArdhaJaama Puja (the most special one), where the padukas
(footwear) of Nataraja are ceremoniously taken to the Palliarai
(night chamber) of Shiva and Parvati - in the innermost prakaaram after elaborate rituals.
It is believed that the entire pantheon of divine figures in the Hindu system of beliefs
is present during this occasion.
The first puja in the
morning involves the waking up of Shiva, and a transport of the padukas
back to the main shrine, followed by fire rituals and ablutions to the crystal Shivalingam.
The worship services that follow at about 9:30, and then at noon, and at 5 in the evening
and at 7 pm involve a combination of rituals involving ablutions to the Crystal Lingam and
the ceremonial show of lamps to Nataraja and Sivakami amidst the chanting of Vedic
and Tamil hymns.
The Saiva Agama system of temple rituals
followed in almost all of the Saivite temples in Tamilnadu, is not followed at Chidambaram.
It is a unique worship protocol said to have been prescribed by Patanjali
that is followed at this temple. Worship services and temple administration are carried
out by the Podu Deekshitars, who are believed to have been associated
with the temple ever since its coming into being.