Nata- raja consists of two words nata and raja meaning act or dance and king or lord respectively, so nataraja means lord of dance or lord of dance. Dance form of Lord Shiva called as “tandav” which shows anger & destruction, but there is another dance form which gives joy and happiness. Lord Shiva is depicted in the nataraja pose. Those who perform nritya at first bows in front of nataraja statue.
Each and every body part of nataraja posture makes meaning. Lord Shiva is shown with four hands in this pose. He is holding agni (fire) on his left back hand which represents destruction. In his right back hand, he is holding damru which represents creation. The posture of left front hand shows ghajastha (elephant) mudra and right hand with snake wrapped around his hand. There is a ring of fire around him which starts and ends on his foot. Below his right leg, there is a dwarf demon called Apsamara. Lord Shiva’s hair are spreaded in the form of thin strands which shows energy of the dance.
In different places in india nataraja is adorned with different things. Nataraja is found in both metallic and stone form. Nowadays nataraja pose is used in different fields in different ways. Nataraja pose is used in Bharatnatyam and even in yoga, that is natrajasana pose which is similar to nataraja.