Sanjay, Chidambaram, Nandanar, Tirupungoor – The Experience

The first time I listened to Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Aadum Chidambaramo was the few seconds clipping of the song that was played in the background during his interview on Radio Mirchi in 2003 or so. After that, I listened to the whole song in Sanjay’s concerts. I went to his Margazhi Mahotsavam concert on the theme, ‘Tillai’ in 2004. I got his ‘Tillai’ CD only in 2006 and liked it a lot. But it wasn’t until January 2007, when I heard Sanjay sing Vazhi Maraitthirukudhu at Asthika Samajam, did I get fascinated by Nandanar Charitram. The main reason for that was the moving rendition of that song by Sanjay. It was soaked in bhava and he sang each and every word of the song so clearly like never before that I was left wishing the song would never end! He sang Aadum Chidambaramo too in that concert. From that time, Chidamabaram has been there on my list of temples to visit. But it was just there in the list along with many other temples.

The desire to get a darshan of the Dancing Lord Nataraja at Chidambaram reached new heights during Sanjay’s Kalarasana concert this season on the day of Aarudra Darshanam. More than me, it was my sister who wanted to visit the temple so badly after hearing Sanjay’s moving renditions of a Pallavi on Lord Nataraja, KaaNa Vendaamo and again, Aadum Chidambaramo. KaaNa Vendaamo was the one that fascinated her the most. The effect that this concert of Sanjay’s had on us, didn’t leave us at all and we soon got his ‘Kshetra Chidambaram’ CD. I couldn’t have enough of the neraval that he does at the line, ‘Sangeeta Vaadya Vinoda Taandava Jaata Bahutara Bheda Chodyam’ in Ananda Natana Prakaasham! By the time the season came to an end, we had decided that we had to somehow visit the Chidambaram temple soon!

So off we went with our parents on last Friday to Chidambaram. Giving us company throughout the journey was what else but Sanjay’s ‘Tillai’ and ‘Kshetra Chidambaram’ CDs! With Ananda Natana Prakasham, Aadum Chidambaramo and KaaNa VaenDaamo playing in a loop, we reached Chidambaram at around 11 am expecting the least that we would be getting the best ever darshanam of Lord Nataraja!

There wasn’t much of a crowd there and we stood in front of Natarajar sannidhi for something like one and a half hours! And as I saw Lord Natarajar, the only thing resounding in my mind was Sanjay’s songs! The simple yet beautiful lyrics employed by Gopalakrishna Bharati to describe the Lord’s glory and his Dance, Papanasam Sivan’s words ‘kaaNa vaeNDaamo irukaNNirukkumboadhu viNNuyar gopuram kaaNa vaeNDaamo’, Dikshitar’s Ananda Natana Prakasham and some more songs – all these so movingly rendered by Sanjay playing in my mind while I got the darshan of Lord Nataraja was an amazing experience, to say the least! I have no words to describe it!

On the way to Mayavaram from Chidambaram too, we were again listening to only Sanjay’s ‘Tillai’ and ‘Kshetra Chidambaram’ CDs. That’s when we saw a board with an arrow pointing the way to Tirupungoor – the place where Lord Shiva asked the Nandi to move so that Nandanar, the Naayanaar, could have His darshan. (It’s at this place, Nandanar sings the song, Vazhi Maraitthirukudhu in the Nandanar charitram composed by Gopalakrishna Bharati.) After having been moved by Sanjay’s Vazhi Maraitthirukudhu for a long time, we decided to visit the temple the very next day. And that too, after a wonderful darshan of Lord Nataraja, we wanted to visit this temple all the more. So, on Saturday, we went to Tirupungoor to get a darshan of the Lord Sivalokanaatha, listening to Sanjay’s Vazhi Maraitthirukudhu and Sivalokanaathanai kaNDu (what great compositions those are!) on the way. After listening to the songs and hearing the story of Nandanar, it felt great seeing the idol of Nandanaar near the temple tank from where he saw the Lord and the malai pole maaDu – the huge statue of Nandi – standing aside so that Nandanar could get a darshan of the Lord. We had a very good darshan there too.

With an excellent darshan of Lord Natarajar and Sivalokanathar and listening to Sanjay’s singing for most part of the journey, those two days were one of the best in the recent times. Had it not been for our getting moved by Sanjay’s renditions of the songs on Lord Nataraja, we wouldn’t have had such a great experience. Thanks a ton to Sanjay for giving us this wonderful experience!

P.S.: Will soon write detailed posts on these two temples as well as many others that we visited during the past weekend.

15 thoughts on “Sanjay, Chidambaram, Nandanar, Tirupungoor – The Experience

  1. Sathej

    Well, well, a great Sanjay Rasika indeed 🙂 You know what – have heard a one hour Vazhi Maraithirukkude in Nattaikurinji as main in a concert recently – not by Sanjay though:) TMK sings it in Thodi….sometimes I feel Thodi’s better suited (there goes one of the few instances I agree with TMK:)) ….but Nattaikurinji is also nice no doubt…. Mayamalava gowlai is a favourite Ragam and Sivaloka Nathanai is nice too….
    Great travelloguing skills indeed 🙂

  2. Vijay Ganesh

    Mayavaram is my native town ! Trust it looked still decent. Chidamaram templs is so big that you will feel kind of lost sometimes although. Wud look fwd to your other post on that temple.

    I am listening to Santati by maharajapuram s ramachandran as i write this post. Feeling really in peace 🙂

  3. Niveditha

    Isn’t it incredible discovering stories through music?!?Was listening to Sabapathiku Verudeivam a few days ago and then I happened to read somewhere that Bharathi sang this when he was visiting Tyagaraja who asked him whether he had sung anything in Abogi – and Bharathi’s reply was the song!And just imagining this scene has made me fall in love with the song.

    Soober post.:)

  4. Aparna

    I have heard both the versions too but I like Nattaikurunji only more.

    Oh. Mayavaram is a nice place. True. Most of the old temples are very big.

    Yes! 🙂
    Oh I never knew that. Thanks for the info. The next time I listen to the song, I am sure will remember this only.
    Thank you 🙂

  5. Sundar

    Hi Aparna,

    I’m from Kanniyakudi, a small village which is about a kilometre away from Tirupungur. I’m proud being a nativite of such an historical place. While googling some subject related to my native, i found this article in ur blog. I read it with such an eagerness and proud. We need bloggers like you to provide more about such historical place and the events. Thanks to Sanjay for initiating you with his song to visit Tirupungur.


  6. Aparna

    Welcome to my blog! Thanks.
    >Thanks to Sanjay for initiating you with his song to visit Tirupungur.
    Am thankful to him too 🙂

  7. Sridhar K

    Hi Aparna,

    I am a maverick fan of Sanjay and needless to say I do read your blog ever since I found it during a googling. I too made it a point to plan for a trip to Chidambaram, Vaitheeswaran Koil (Kula-Deivam) and Tirupungoor with family and did undertake the trip during May2008. Tirupungoor darisanam was unbelievable and the temple is a thing of beauty. Needless to say all of us are obliged to the master Sanjay for that wonderful TILLAI CD.

    Sridhar K

  8. Aparna

    Welcome to my blog! Oh that’s great!
    >>Needless to say all of us are obliged to the master Sanjay for that wonderful TILLAI CD.

  9. Pingback: Aparna’s Blog » When Darbari Kanada continues to haunt!!!! :)

  10. vasanth


    I haven’t heard sanjay songs. I dont have carnatic gyan though. But i am great fan of Balakrishna Sastrigal’s Harikathas. I have heard his famous Nandhanar Charitham for last 6 months! Amazing story and found holy secrets thru his story telling skills!
    Have visited recently chidambaram but could nt go Thirupangur. Do any of you have pics of Thirupangur temple premises. Kindly send to

  11. natraj

    recently i visited my shock very many things have been altered in the temple where nandhanar moved the nandhi and the flag mast to have a look at the lord who refused to allow dalits in.inmates in the temple give an entirely new version of the story.years back sthala varalaru books of the temple gave a neat narration of events which gave the temple the sanctity.even the marks under the displaced nandhi are hidden by a cement structure,painted red.the dhvarabalagar statues are missing.may the power which moved the nandhi shatter the human nandhis who try to cover a poor dalit’s spirtual energy.

  12. Aparna

    Welcome to my blog! When I went there last year, everything in the temple was intact & the sthala puranam that the person told us also was the authentic one!

  13. sivaswamyss

    you have done a great service by highlighting Chidambarm, Thirupungoor, and Sajay’s Thillai CD I too would visit these temples before long thank you


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