The Tiruvalangadu Shiva temple and God Shiva's ''Urdhwa Tandava'' (dance), Tamil Nadu`

Tiruvalangadu Shiva temple
old Banyan tree. Tiruvalangadu Shiva temple
 The places where God Shiva, performed the  ''Dance of  Bliss'' or ''the Ananda Tandavam''   are called Pancha Sabhaigal - meaning - pancha  - five;  Sabai - dance hall. This  Shiva's  distinct dance style and posture  has  scientific connotation - a symbolism of five divine acts of creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and blessing with his  divine grace. Nature's cycles of creation  and destruction of land, lives, etc., and of  formation of new lands and life, etc.,  maintaining a balance between these two dynamic acts  so that the rest will be sustained, fed and protected for their existence, represent Shiva's dance, his sabha - theater  being the firmament.

The dance of Shiva's motif  in metal idol  is a famous one - a legacy of Chola Dynasty's  art  form of divinity that existed more than 1000 years  ago .  Five of the important Sabhas (Pancha Sabhai) are at Chidmbaram (Kanaka Sabhai, the hall of gold), Madurai (Rajata Sabhai, the hall of Silver), Tiruvalangadu near Chennai (Ratnasabhai, the hall of rubies), Tirunelveli (Tamrasabhai, the hall of copper) and  Chitra Sabhai, hall of art near Kutralam.  Other equally famous dance halls are  Adri Sabhai (the Himalayas), Aadi Chitsabhai (Tiruvenkaadu near Chidambaram) and Perur Kanakasabhai (Patteeswarar temple at Perur near Coimbatore). Among the sabhas, the one at Chidambaram represents the 'Ether' (Akash/sky) of the five elements. It brings out the formless and un-manifested  nature of the God. Here, he is limitless and  eludes the grasp of mind. With his consort Parvati (Kli),  he performs the dance of bliss -Ananda Thandava and this form embodies five divine acts  mentioned above that encompass the entire universe. He is thus known as the Akasha Lingam here.
Urdhwa Tandava

The  Tiruvalangadu Shiva temple, a 2 -hour from Chennai, and also  from Kancheepuram, is  famous for the Ratna Sabha or the hall of rubies. It is said to be  the 15th of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Tondai region of South India.   This historical old village was earlier  called Pazhayanur and the place where this temple is located was called Alangadu.  In the Devara Hymns, this place is mentioned as “Pazhayanur Alangadu”.
Urdhwa Tandava dance,Thiruvalankadu.
 Every Hindu temple has a mythological story and this one has no exception. The legend has it that at the  request of Naradar, to save the earthly beings from the  sustained rage of Kali that had not yet come down, after killing  demons Sumban and Nisumban in the banyan forest of this region, Shiva agreed to a dance duel with her. This was to subdue her fury.  Initially, the latter gave a far  better performance than  God  himself. In order to prove his expertise in  nuances of dancing, at last, Shiva   performed what is called the `Tandava` dance also known as the `Chanda (terrific) tandava` and as part of it, he lifted his leg up above his head.  Upon this unique Oordhvatandavam posture, Goddess, being a woman,  could not imitate this posture and, out of modesty, then,  accepted her defeat. Lord Nataraja won the contest but he also declared that Kali was second to none except himself in dance.  At this temple, one can see Urdhwa Tandava` terrifying, fearful dance frozen in alloyed metal  with eight arms (Iyyempon).  So is the idol of Kali with  eight-arms.
God Shiva abd Goddess Kali. Urdhwa Tandava`dance,/
The other version of the legend is as follows:  When Shiva first did his ananda tandava, his dance of bliss, in Chidambaram, Kali, full of pride and ego, challenged the Lord to a dance contest.
God Shiva, who won't tolerate ego, wanted to eliminate her arrogance, so he put forward the following  conditions: 'whoever won would become Lord of Tillai; whoever lost had to leave his or her shrine'. In the presence of  gods  and sages, Kali and Shiva began to dance. In this fierce contest between them, Shiva, having no choice,  performed a difficult posture called urdhva tandava - one leg thrust vertically towards the sky  almost exposing
the genitalia. Upon this difficult move, Kali, being a female had to be modest, so she  conceded defeat
This is the 15th of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Tondai region of South India.  The lord is known as “Sri Vadaranyeswarar” (Vadam meaning banyan tree, Aranyam meaning forest and the Eswar represents Lord Shiva). The celestial gods (Devas) are  said to have  worshipped the lord of this temple, hence he is also referred to as “Sri Devarsingaperuman”. Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthi (self-manifested).  This temple has a  well- constructed 100-pillars hall where Lord Natarajar’s abishekam is performed periodically. There are  two Shiva lingams - one made of Spadigam ( pure quartz crystal) and the other one made of  Maragatham ( superior quality emerald).  In this temple.  Saint Pattinathar  sang in praise of Lord Shiva, so was Saint Arunagirinadhar in praise of Lord Murugan of this temple in his revered ''Thirupugazh''.

This is a  big temple with many halls  - mandepams and there 
is a stone image of Karaikkal Ammayar, a devotee of the lord 
and a famous Tamil poetess in the shrine to Oordhvatandavamurthy Here,  she  rendered her “Mootha Thirupathigam” about Lord Shiva. Her jeeva samadhi (tomb) is  at the end of Lord Natarajar’s hall (Sabha). There is yet another image of Nataraja, housed within the sanctum of Vadaranyeswarar.  A huge  banyan tree is the Stala Vriksham (temple tree). The inscriptions mention about grants by Rajendra Cholan, son of great Raja Raja Chola II)  for the upkeep of the temple. They date  back to the 5th century. Pallava dynsaty made their contribution to this temple. The Rajagopuram with five tiers  is a tall one  and the towers and temple boundary walls , adjacent to the temple courtyards,  date back to the 12th and the 13th centuries. During the reign of Kulottunga Chola I, the temple complex was enlarged (1075 - 1120).

Besides, Shiva Ratri, the Margazhi Tiruvadirai celebrations related to Shiva"s ''dance of bliss''  are held with devotion and attract lots of devotes.