Nataraja at Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram, Tamil Nadu, India
The Cholas enjoyed and encouraged nritya and sangeet and their monuments especially temples apart from being spiritual beacons were cultural learning centers with their profuse panels and sculptures of dance and musical scenes - gods and ordinary people came alive sculpted in myriad karanas that left their visitors awestruck. How to reach Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram?
Frame is from Airavateshvara Temple in Darasuram Shiva performing urdhvatāṇḍava also known the ūrdhvatāṇḍavamūrti - Shiva enacted this Urdhava karaṇa to defeat Kali in a dance competition which was designed especially to calm Kali's fury after the ferocious goddess had brutally killed Asura's Sumbha and Nisumbha. Once the competition began witnessed not just by the sages, wild animals and birds in the Thiruvalangadu forest - Vishnu, Brahma and devas joined to witness this divine event. As Nataraja and Kali danced all were lost as the Damaru whirled and each matched the other to its hypnotic beats. The mesmerizing tandav was a fusion of raw power - just than Shiva's energetic movement caused him to drop the tatanka from his ear - in a seamless gesture without missing a beat Natesha picked up the errant tatanka with his toes and inserted it back in the ear - his uplifted leg pointing towards the sky and he continued holding his Urdhava Tandava posture gazing intently at Kali - one look at Shiva's masculine stance and the goddess blushed, gently returning to her graceful feminine form.
Many types of Tandava are found in the Hindu Scriptures - when performed with ecstatic rasa or joy it is Ananda Tandava when performed in a violent rasa it is Raudra Tandava - others include Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samhara Tandava, Kali (Kalika) Tandava, Uma Tandava, Shiva Tandava, Krishna Tandava, Gauri Tandava and Urdhva Tandava.