Tandava Murthi is carved onto the cliff face on the right side of Cave 1.
Shiva is shown with 18 arms (9 on each side), few holding astras, few holding musical instruments and few bare handed – combination of them depict specific karanas from the natyashastra.
This murthi is categorised as “madhyama” with only partial ganas including Ganesha and Tandu (Drummer) are shown in the panel. His vehicle Nandi is standing behind him. His Jatamakuta is mesmerising and the katisutra acting as plumb line.
Shiva is standing with an elegant dancing pose on a lotus flower pedestal. His right leg in parshva posture, left leg in suchi posture and the right part of the waist is lifted to depict the udvahita kati. Combined, these give a magnificent tribhanga posture to the overall murthi.
Shiva instructed Tandu, One if his attendants to teach this dance to Sage Bharata (author of Natya Sastra). Hence this dance took the name “Tandava”. Combining one hand from either side of Shiva, one can see 81 distinctive poses of Bharanatyam.
With 4 arms on each side, Shiva here is performing a total of 9 karanas.