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Nataraja: The Divine Dance of Lord Shiva



  Apr 19, 2024

Nataraja: The Divine Dance of Lord Shiva



What is Nataraja?

Nataraja is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the divine dancer. It symbolizes Lord Shiva dancing in a ring of flames, performing the cosmic dance of creation and destruction. The iconography of Nataraja is rich with symbolism, reflecting key aspects of Hindu philosophy.

What does the Nataraja statue represent?

The Nataraja statue represents the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. Shiva's dance is considered a metaphor for the belief that life is a series of dynamic movements full of energy. The posture and expression convey his role as the destroyer in the Hindu trinity but also symbolize his functions as creator and preserver.

Where is Nataraja worshiped?

Nataraja is predominantly worshiped in the Tamil Nadu region of India, with the most famous temple dedicated to Nataraja being in Chidambaram. This temple is one of the ancient Pancha Bhoota Stalam (temples celebrating Shiva as the embodiment of the five primary elements) representing the element of ether (space).

What is the significance of the lost-wax casting technique in making Nataraja statues?

The lost-wax casting technique used to make Nataraja statues is a traditional Indian art form known for its intricate detail and precision. This technique involves creating a wax model of the statue, which is then covered in clay and allowed to harden. Molten metal is poured into the mold, melting the wax and taking its place. The technique allows for detailed and complex metal artworks and has been associated with Indian craftsmanship since the time of the Chola dynasty.

How is the Nataraja statue used in cultural and diplomatic contexts?

Nataraja statues are often used as symbols of Indian culture and spirituality in various cultural exchanges and diplomatic contexts. The statue’s installation at prominent international venues, such as during the G20 Summit, serves to showcase India's rich artistic heritage and philosophical depth. It is intended to reflect the themes of harmony, resilience, and the interconnected nature of the world, resonating with global audiences.



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