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Shiva's Dance in Stone:
Ananda Tandava, Bhujangalalita, Bhujangatrasa

Fig. 14: Shiva Nataraja in the Mangalanathar temple in Uttirakosamangai
Known as the Emerald Nataraja or Maragatha Nataraja
Stone, probably granite
Uttirakosamangai, Tamil Nadu, India
date unknown
150 centimeter without the pedestal, 170 including (approximately)

Photo: date unkown, photographer unkown.
Reproduced with the kind permission of the office of the Mangalanathar temple in Uttirakosamangai.

The Emerald Nataraja as it is known has a separate sanctum in the North-West corner the outer prakara of this temple. Here Sivakamasundari, Patanjali and Vyaghrapada are under worship in a shallow space closed with a harmonica gate. Only on Arudra Darshanam (when the full moon transits the nakshatra Ardra in December-January) this gate is opened and abhishekam is performed for the Nataraja and his consort. The rest of the year this Nataraja is kept covered with sandal paste. Many details are therefore not visible.

This murti is totally around 1.70 in height. Without the pedestal it is around 1.50 meter tall. The pedestal is a rectangular base which has been kept attached to the lower part of the sculpture.

The prabha is circular and very broad with a solid body and many rims. The flames are close together and uniformly shaped. Two makaras are positioned on a kind of bended pillars. The prabha emits from their mouths. At the top of the prabha there is another pair of makaras produce the prabha from their mouths and are topped by a large flame and abstract decorations. Around the head and the hair and connecting to the prabha some unusual decorations have been added similar to the Nataraja in Thirupudaimarudur and Thirunelveli.

The Apasmara lies with its head toward the (proper) right. The large cobra in its hand raises its head upto the left foot of the Nataraja.

The five jata on each side fall down with a soft wave. The fan-shaped headdress connects to the prabha and partly covers it. Other details cannot be ascertained.

This Nataraja is almost entirely solid. The sculptor has opened only a little of the space around the murti and has left a lot of stone as extra decoration between the prabha and the Shiva. Also the base is unusual in shape offering more stability and support to the dancing figure itself.