|Cosmic dancer God Shiva. astroved.com|
|Arudra festival, Chidambaram templesinindiainfo.com|
|Sri nataraja temple, Chidambaram, temple tank, etc.telegraphindia.com|
That the stone inscriptions in the temples mention this festival has been held on that particular day for more than 1500 years brings to light how our great great ancestors were well versed in the realm of highly complicated Astronomy and had a rich knowledge of the movements of planets all through the years and their cosmic impact on the earth. The modern idea of gravity was discovered in the late 16th and early 17th century by the western scientists with the work of Galileo Galilei. In 1687, Isaac Newton published his work on gravity. Āryabhaṭa or Aryabhata (476–550 CE) was the first of the major mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics. He mentioned about relativity of motion, earth's rotation, eclipses, etc. The cosmic dance of Shiva, symbolizes natural processes going on continuously in this universe - the acts of creation and destruction of universe are going on somewhere daily. Our scriptures mention about the five specific ‘actions’ of the god — creation, protection, destruction, sustenance and grace and God Shiva encompasses all these.
Lord Shiva is glorified in Tamil by many names, one of them being Athiraiyan from Thiruvathirai (Thiru + Athirai). Hence Thruvathirai has close link with God Shiva. At the famous Sri Nataraja temple, Chidambaram of Tamil Nadu, the annual Arudra Festival is a popular one that falls soon after the 10- day Margazhi Bhramotsavam, The following events are worthy of mention: 01. The eighth day (in Dec ) assumes importance with the procession of Bhikshatanar . Legend has it Shiva and Vishnu' took a trip through Dhaarukaavanam in the guise of Bhikshaatanar and Mohini. 02. The 9th day, the Utchavar idol (Shiva) is taken out from the main shrine in a procession on the streets close to the temple. 03. Following day in the early morning (under the full moon) abhishekam is performed to Sri Natarajar and his consort Sivakami. 04. Same day in the afternoon an interesting event takes place and it is about enactment of Cosmic dance by the lord. Both Nataraja and Sivakami idols are well decorated for this interesting event. Another interesting fact is Lord Shiva s believed to represent five important natural elements (Pancha boothas) without which living things can not survive on the planet and each of the following Shiva temples represents a particular element.
|Chidambaram Nataraj temple, Tn. gold plated roof. divineavatars.com/|
|Shiva temples representing 5 natural elements, TNhindupost.in|
01. Chidambaram Natarajar Temple, Akasha – aether, 02. Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara Temple, Trichy – Water, 03. Sri Kanchi Ekambareswara Temple, Kanchipuram- Earth, 04. Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara Swamy Temple – Fire (Agni), and Kalahasti Nathar, Sri Kalahasti (Andhra)– Wind. In all these temple Arudra Darshan is celebrated annually ( see the image above).
Likewise, Arudra festivities also take place in the five famous cosmic dance halls ( Pancha sabhas) of God Nataraja in Tamil Nadu - the hall of Gold - Kanakasabha at Chidambaram, the hall of Silver Velli Sabhai at Madurai, the hall of Rubies - Ratnasabha at Tiruvalankadu, The hall of Copper - Tamrasabha at Tirunelveli and the hall of Pictures - Chitrasabha Kutralam. In all these these well decorated and ornate halls , the Utchava murthy of the God is worshiped and kept for Podhu (common) darshan.
Besides the afore-mentioned temples Arudra darshan is held at many temples across Tamil Nadu. At Tiruvalankaadu close to Chennai, Nataraja idol Oordhva taandava posture, is worshiped. The festival at Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai is also equally famous. As a matter of fact the Shavite saint Tirugnanasambandar in his work Poompaavai patikam mentioned about this festival in Mylapore.
At the Kutralanathar temple in Kuttralam near Kumbakonam in the Chitra Sabha (hall), the Taandava Deepa Araadhana is performed as part of Arudra festival. The Patteeswarar temple at Perur near Coimbatore, Chandramouleeswarar temple at Tiruvakkarai near Villuppuram,.Utthirakosamangai near Rameswaram, glorified by the hymns of Manikkavaachakar, are some other Shiva temples where Margazhi Tiruvaadirai is observed. .
But this festival is not celebrated with great pomp and impressive rituals often associated with Vishnu temple festivals like Vaikunda Ekadasi . The reason is God Shiva is more or less like an ascetic, quite withdrawn and not fond of alangaram (decoration). This is the reason why the Shjva idols in most temples do not have vast jewelry collections and are not richly decorated.
In the state of Kerala in the month of Makaram, Thiruvathira is celebrated in Mathira Peedika Devi Temple near Kadakkal in Kollam District of Kerala state. It is a popular one and has a connection with lord moon.