Interesting Sri Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja temple, Satara

Natraj Temple in Satara, maharastra. Flickriver
Sri Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja Temple at Satara city, Maharashtra, India was  established in the year 1985. Modelled after  Sri Nataraja (consort: Sivagama Sundari) temple at Chidambaram in Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, it is the 
brainchild of the late Sr. pontiff of Kanchi Mutt, Mahaswami Chandrashekhrendra Swamigal (Periyavar or Periyava). It was designed by the famous Sthapthathis - temple and sculpture designers  Ganapati Sthapathi and his brother M. Mutthayya Sthapathi of Tamil Nadu. Unlike the centuries-old highly ornate Chidambaram temple whose glory  was sung in devotional hymns by Tamil saints Nayanmars, this one is  small in size but,  has almost all the features the Tamil Nadu temple has. The Thillai Chidambaram temple is one of the pancha Boothasthas sthalams, representing Akasha (aether). The Satara  Nataraja temple's  architecture is altogether different from what is being followed in this region, as it is built in the Dravidian style of architecture adopted by the  great rulers of Tamil Nadu, in particular, Chola and Pandya dynasties.  They, along with Pallava and Hoysala rulers go down in history as the great builders of Hindu temples of grandeur and artistic beauty.

Built at the holy confluence of rivers of Krishna & Venna, the temple is a popular one here.  It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of  Nataraja, the cosmic dancer who performs his divine, mesmerising dance to bring about the destruction of the transient  universe and makes preparations for god Brahma to initiate the process of creation. Scientifically speaking, he is maintaining the much needed  perfect balance between creation on one hand and destruction on the other. If these two processes do not have perfect correlation/ratio, there will be chaos.  The temple has four entrances with impressive towers,  similar to the Chidambram temple towers and  they can be seen from all  directions, In the past decades, this temple has become a venue  for various cultural & spiritual programs and is a famous platform for the presentation of Classical Dance performers.  

Both Satara and Chidambaram have close link with  great saints . The former recalls to our mind the samadhi of Smartha Ramadas (1608-1680), the guru of Satrapathi Sivaji Maharaj and of Ram Sastri  Prabhune and the latter brings to our mind the divine association of  Patjali and Vyagrapada  before whom lord Shiva did Ananda Thandava (dance of delight).

It  was in the year  1980 when senior  Kanchi seer visited this place and had his Chadurnasya, he was captivated by the serene  environment charged with religious fervor. Not only did he stay  here for a year  but also made up his mind to have a Shiva temple, similar to the one at Chidambaram built at Satara. One Sri  Shamanna Shambag (now deceased) of Karnataka, a sincere disciple and a businessman took the responsibility with  abiding interest in Uttara Chidambaram temple project. A trust had been formed and lots of people  came forward and made valid contributions. The governments of Maharastra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and  Andhra provided financial assitance. Necessary timber wood requirements were met by the Kerala government. On 9 June 1985 (between 5.00 am to 6.30 am) consecration - Kumbabisekam was performed by H.H. Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, junior head of the Kanchi Mutt, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu in the presence of the then CM of Maharashtra V. Patil, former CM Vasat Rao Patil, Rajmata Sumitra Raje Bhonsle of Satara an others. Innumerable Pundits from Tamil Nadu, Pune, Ratnagiri and Udupi took part in the chanting of Rigveda hymns. The Ganapathi shrine was consecrated as per Maharastra tradition. Accoding to the wish of H.H. Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the pujas and temple rituals  at Satara temple are done by the Chidambaram Dikshitas (pundits) by rotataion in tune with the tradition being followed by them at Sri Nataraja temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. The Chidambaram Sri Nataraja temple is being governed by the Dikshitas, also known by the name of Thillai Muvayirathar.

The temple adorns 108 sculptures depicting 108 dance mudras (poses) of Bharatanatyam. The four towers - 51 feet tall are named as Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka and Maharastra, implying the oneness of India.
Shri Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja
There are other shrines on the temple premises  Lord Ganesha, Maruti/ Hanuman, Lord Krishna & Goddess Raadha, Lord Shiva’s ‘Linga, Navagraha, Aadi Shankaracharya and Lord Ayyappa.
Besides this temple, there are many worth-seeing places in Satara and its surroundings. Its beautiful environment surrounded by hills with lots of greenery, etc will never disappoint tourists who come here for relaxzation and fun.  The town gets its name from the Seven (Sat) Hills (Taras) surrounding it.


Bhavan's Journel, vol. 31, no. 23, July 1-15, 1985.