19 Facts About Nataraja


Nataraja (Tamil: ) is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the divine cosmic dancer.

FactSnippet No. 617,227

Thus Nataraja is considered one of the highest forms of Shiva in Tamil Nadu, and thus sculpture or Bronze idol of Nataraja is kept and worshiped in almost all Shiva temples across Tamil Nadu.

FactSnippet No. 617,228

Nataraja reliefs are found in historic settings in many parts of South East Asia such as Angkor Wat and in Bali, Cambodia, and central Asia.

FactSnippet No. 617,229

Natesa is another alternate equivalent term for Nataraja found in 1st-millennium sculptures and archeological sites across the Indian subcontinent.

FactSnippet No. 617,230

The details in the Nataraja artwork have been variously interpreted by Indian scholars since the 12th century for its symbolic meaning and theological essence.

FactSnippet No. 617,231

Nataraja is a well known sculptural symbol in India and popularly used as a symbol of Indian culture, in particular as one of the finest illustrations of Hindu art.

FactSnippet No. 617,232

In contrast, Sharada Srinivasan questions the link to Chola, and has presented archaeological evidence suggesting that Nataraja bronzes and dancing Shiva artwork in South India was a Pallava innovation, tracing back to 7th to 9th-centuries, and its symbolism should be pushed back by a few centuries.

FactSnippet No. 617,233

Nataraja is a significant visual interpretation of Brahman and a dance posture of Shiva.

FactSnippet No. 617,234

The details in the Nataraja artwork have attracted commentaries and secondary literature such as poems detailing its theological significance.

FactSnippet No. 617,235

Srinivasan notes that Nataraja is described as Satcitananda or "Being, Consciousness and Bliss" in the Shaiva Siddhanta text Kunchitangrim Bhaje, resembling the Advaita doctrine, or "abstract monism, " of Adi Shankara, "which holds the individual Self and supream Self (Paramatma) to be one, " while "an earlier hymn to Nataraja by Manikkavachakar identifies him with the unitary supreme consciousness, by using Tamil word Or Unarve, rather than Sanskrit Chit.

FactSnippet No. 617,236

Stone reliefs depicting the classical form of Nataraja are found in numerous cave temples of India, such as at the Ellora Caves, the Elephanta Caves, and the Badami Caves (Karnataka), by around the 6th century.

FactSnippet No. 617,237

One of the earliest known Nataraja artworks has been found in the archaeological site at Asanapat village in Odisha, which includes an inscription, and is dated to about the 6th century CE.

FactSnippet No. 617,238

Nataraja was worshipped at Chidambaram during the Pallava period with underlying philosophical concepts of cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, which is found in Tamil saint Manikkavacakar's Thiruvasagam.

FactSnippet No. 617,239

Similarly, Nataraja artwork has been found in archaeological sites in the Himalayan region such as Kashmir, albeit in with somewhat different dance pose and iconography, such as just two arms or with eight arms.

FactSnippet No. 617,240

Nataraja reliefs are found in historic settings in many parts of South East Asia such as Ankor Wat, and in Bali, Cambodia, and central Asia.

FactSnippet No. 617,241

Nataraja gained special significance and became a symbol of royalty in Tamil Nadu.

FactSnippet No. 617,242

Nataraja artwork have been discovered in Gujarat, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

FactSnippet No. 617,243

Siwa and his dance as Nataraja was celebrated in the art of Java Indonesia when Hinduism thrived there, while in Cambodia he was referred to as Nrittesvara.

FactSnippet No. 617,244

Nataraja is celebrated in 108 poses of Bharatanatyam, with Sanskrit inscriptions from Natya Shastra, at the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India.

FactSnippet No. 617,245