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Temples of Tamilnadu

Madurai - Rajata Sabha


Madurai is revered as one of the five Cosmic Dance Halls of Shiva. The Natarajar shrine in the Sundareswarar temple in Madurai is referred to as the Velli Sabhai or the Rajata Sabha – the Hall of Silver.

The other four halls are the Golden Hall or Kanaka Sabha at Chidambaram, the hall of Rubies or Ratna Sabha at Tiruvalankaadu, the Copper hall or Taamra Sabha at Tirunelveli, the Chitrasabha or the hall of pictures at Kutralam respectiveley.

Legend has it that Shiva performed the Aananda Natanam or the Dance of Bliss here. It is said that Patanjali and Vyagrapadar the supreme devotees of Nataraja, upon being requested to dine – on the occasion of Meenakshi’s wedding with Shiva at Madurai – expressed their desire to leave for Chidambaram to perform their daily ritual of witnessing Shiva’s dance of bliss there. Shiva is said to have requested the munis to stay on at Madurai, and to have danced the Aananda Natanam dance of Bliss at Madurai in the silver hall or the Rajata Sabha.

Legend also has it that a devout Pandya King by name Rajasekhara, meditated upon Shiva to request him to dance with his right foot raised – in apparent concern for the pain that might afflict the Cosmic Dancer’s permanently grounded right foot (and raised left foot). Shiva is said to have responded to the King’s pleas and changed his posture. (Nataraja is always depicted dancing with his left foot raised; however in the Madurai temple alone, he is depicted with his right foot raised).