Aani Uthiram, or Ani Uthram, is an auspicious day in the Tamil Month of Aani (or Ani) and is dedicated to Lord Nataraja (Shiva). In 2011, the date of Aani Uthiram is July 7. The festival is also known as Aani Thirumanjanam and is observed on the Uthiram Nakshatram day.
It is popularly believed that it was on Aani Uthiram day that Lord Shiva appeared before Sage Manikkavachakar under a Kurundai Tree and offered upadesha (advice). Sage Manikkavachakar is the author of Thiruvachakam.
Thirumanjanam means ‘holy bath’. On Aani Thirumanjanam day – when Uthram Nakshtram falls in Aani month – an Abhishekam is performed in Lord Nataraja temples. The Abhishekam or holy bath of the idol performed during the twilight period (Pradosham) on the day is considered highly auspicious.
Special rituals and processions are held on the day at Nataraja Temple.
Another important festival that is dedicated to Lord Nataraja is the Arudhra Darshan.