How Nandanar is specially worshipped in the Hindu Religion?
Nandanar is specially worshipped in the Tamil month of Purattasi when the moon enters the Rohini nakshatra (lunar mansion). He is depicted with a shaved head, folded hands (see Anjali mudra) with a kamandalu and a danda (staff), like a seer.
He receives collective worship as part of the 63 Nayanars. Their icons and brief accounts of his deeds are found in many Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. Their images are taken out in procession in festivals.
A water tank in Chidambaram is considered sacred as it is believed to be the site of Nandanar's fire-purification. A "recently built" (as mentioned in the 1992 book) small shrine dedicated to the Nayanar, exists in south-west part of the town, whose name means 'Nandanar has become the temple'.
A sculpture of Nandanar as a singer is found in the Chidambaram temple, besides another in Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram (12th century) depicting him in the trail by fire. Sundarar venerates Nandanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints, calling him "Nalaippovan", the "holy pilgrim" who will go tomorrow.
An earlier hymn to Shiva praises the god who is served by Nalaippovan. The devotional poet Tyagaraja (1767–1847) also narrates the tale of Nandanar in his poems. Devotional works dedicated to Nataraja of the Chidambaram temple narrate Nandanar's tale.
Umapathi Sivacharya's Kunchitangristava (early fourteenth century) mentions Nandan's legend. While another Sanskrit work Hemasabhanatha Mahatmya devotes its ninth chapter to the Nayanar. The Sthala Purana of the Nataraja temple called Chidambara Mahatmya praises the god as served by Nandan.
The Nandi in Sivalokanathar Temple, Tirupunkur is seen placed off centre as a testimony of Nandanar's devotion and the miracle. A stone image of the saint is worshipped in the temple.
The Dvarapalas (gate-keeper sculptures) are depicted with his heads leaning downwards, said to be in honour of Nandanar. In 1959, a shrine was created outside the Shiva temple, from where the stone image of Nandanar looks eternally at Shiva.
Nandanar is depicted with his hands joined above his head, praying to Shiva. Scenes of Bharati's opera and the local legend of Nandanar and Ganesha digging the temple tank are seen on the shrine.
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