Nataraja or Nataraj, The Lord (or King) of Dance, is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic dancer Koothan who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for god Brahma to start the process of creation. As the Lord of Dance, Natarajan (Shiva) performs the tandava, the dance in which the universe is created, maintained, and dissolved. Shiva’s long, matted tresses, usually piled up in a knot, loosen during the dance and crash into the heavenly bodies, knocking them off course or destroying them utterly. The dwarf on which Nataraja dances is the demon Apasmara (Muyalaka, as as he is known in Tamil), which symbolises Shiva’s victory over ignorance.

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