Pancha Sabhai

Shiva-Nataraja in the Thousand-Pillar-Hall of the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal refers to the temples of Lord Nataraja, a form of Lord Shiva[1] where he performed the Cosmic Dance.[2] Pancha indicates Five, Sabhai means hall and Stala means place. All these temples are located in Tamil Nadu, India.


A few temples in Tamil Nadu are closely associated with Nataraja and have their own myths of dance along with the halls specific to their version of dance.[3] The seven dances of Lord Siva can be recognised as the varied facts of single theme viz. the Beauty and Bliss of the Absolute. Herein lies the aesthetic fact of the dance. The seven dances are:

Thandavam(Dance) Hall Temple Location
Kali Thandavam Rathinachabai Vada aaranyeswarar Temple Thiruvalangadu, Chennai
Ananda Thandavam Porchabai Natarajar Temple Chidambaram
Sandhya Thandavam Vellichabai Meenakshi Amman Temple Madurai
Muni Thandavam Thamirachabai Nellaiappar Temple Tirunelveli
Tirupura Thandavam Chithirachabai Kutralanathar Temple Courtallam

In the above classification of Siva's dance, as mentioned in puranic literature the temples are found within the geographical and cultural limit of Tamil Nadu. Of the seven dances, the seventh dance, Ananda Thandavam is representative and symbolic of the themes inherent in all other dances. The seventh is a composite ideal of the main tenets of Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy. The dance itself is a source of supreme aesthetic enjoyment of the beauty and bliss of god[4]

The Five Temples[edit]

Category Temple Location Element
Rathinachabai Vada aaranyeswarar Temple Thiruvalangadu, Chennai Emerald
Porchabai Natarajar Temple Chidambaram Gold
Vellichabai Meenakshi Amman Temple Madurai Silver
Thamirachabai Nellaiappar Temple Tirunelveli Copper
Chithirachabai Kutralanathar Temple Courtallam Art



Pancha Sabhai Map


  1. ^ Historical dictionary of the Tamils.Vijaya Ramaswamy
  2. ^ The Dance of Siva: Religion, Art and Poetry in South IndiaDavid Smith
  3. ^ Rajarajan, R.K.K. (2014). "Pañcanṛtyasabhās: Dancing Halls Five". Religion of South Asia, Equinox Publishing, Sheffield. 8.2: 197–216.
  4. ^ Encyclopaedia of the Śaivism . P 212 by Swami P. Anand, Swami Parmeshwaranand.