Legends: Shiva defeated Kali in a dance duel by lifting his foot up in the Oordhvatandavam posture. Kali is depicted in a dance posture. There is another image of Nataraja, within the sanctum of Vadaranyeswarar. Naradar, to save the earthly beings from the rage of Kali, was born out of her vanquishing the demons Sumban and Nisumban in the banyan forest.
Temple: A huge banyan tree is the Stala Vriksham. There are inscriptions here speaking of grants by Rajendra Cholan for the upkeep of the temple. Inscriptions date back to the 5th century. The Rajagopuram is visible for miles. The towers and walls surrounding the temple date back to the 12th and the 13th centuries.
Inscriptions state that an earlier Pallava temple was reconstructed during the Chola rule, and Kulottunga Chola I enlarged the campus. One of the bronze images of Nataraja was unearthed and now is in the Chennai Government museum. Stucco images depict the five dance halls and are in the entrance to the inner prakaram.
Festivals: The Margazhi Tiruvadirai celebrations witness festivities related to the Cosmic Dance of Shiva.