what is Arudhra Darisanam

Thiruvathirai or Thiruvathira or Arudhra Darisanam is a Hindu festival celebrated in the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Thiruvathirai is the day on which this universe was created by Lord Shiva about 132 trillion years ago It takes place on the full moon light in the Tamil month of Marghazhi(December-January)that is the longest night of the year. In Tamil Nadu, the unmarried women will fast during the day time. They will take food before sunrise and start their fasting. They will break the fast after witnessing the moon rise. Nonbu (fasting) starts nine days before and ends on Thiruvathirai day.

Thiruvadirai or Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in a grand manner in 5 Sabhas of Sri Natarajar namely 1) Kanakasabha (Gold) - at Chidambaram (Thillai or Tillai), 2) Velli Sabhai (Silver) at Madurai, 3) Ratnasabha (Ruby) at Tiruvalankadu, 4) Tamrasabha (Copper) at Tirunelveli, 5) Chitrasabha (Pictures) at Kutralam.

Literary and historical evidence in the form of stone inscriptions state that the festival has been celebrated on this day for more than 1500 years. Lord Shiva is praised in Tamil by many names, one of them is Athiraiyan (ஆதிரையன் ), from Thiruvathirai (Thiru + Athirai).

The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents five activities – Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. This festival signifies the golden red flame and Shiva performs the dance in the form this red-flamed light. Lord Shiva is supposed to be incarnated in the form of Lord Nataraja during the Arudra Darshan day.

Most of the temples around the world with Lord Nataraja and Shiva

as deity perform the Arudhra Darshan. Neivedhyam (food for God) made for Lord Nataraja on that day is Thiruvathirai Kali.