Nataraja means the ‘King of Dance’. It is a dancing position of lord Shiva. Shiva, is “shakti” which means energy, also known as Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairaya, Vishwnath, Bhaya, and Bhole Nath etc.
Natraja, the Lord of dance, who creates, maintains and resolves problems of the world. The sculpture of Nataraja, gives us a clearest image of the dancing pleasure of lord Shiva, which is a mixture of creation, protection, destruction, embodiment and release. The vivid description of the Shiva’s dancing can be shown with four arms in different directions and standing on one toe while other one rose in the air resembling in the figure of dwarf. Shiva’s right hand holds the Damaru, which symbolizes the sound that creates and destroys the universe. The left back hand carries ‘Agni’, which signifies final destruction, the dissolution of form, out of which a new world will arise, and, the front left hand is held across his chest in the Gajahasta pose, with loose wrist and fingers, which signifies upliftment and salvation. The locks of Shiva’s hair stand out in several strands interspersed among the Ganga, skull and crescent moon. The arc of flames represents the manifestation of the universe. It is believed that, one day Lord Brahma and Vishnu were arguing ‘who were more powerful among them’. Suddenly, their argument vanished when they saw a great blazing pillar whose roots and branches was extending beyond their view into the earth and sky. So, Lord Brahma flew to sky to explore the pinnacle of the pillar, whereas Lord Vishnu went straight in the earth to look for pillar’s roots. After getting failed in their search, the two god return and saw Lord Shiva emerging from the pillar. On recognizing Lord Shiva’s power, both of them accepted Shiva as third ruler of the universe.