As described in Hinduism 101: Shiva, Shiva is the third god of the Hindu triad and the destroyer of all evil. This brief refresher helps in understanding the popular image of Nataraja, or the Dancing Shiva. This image is commonplace throughout India, cast in various metals and placed for sale for in all price ranges from street vendors to high-end galleries.
For years I've been visiting temples, photographing them as tourists do, and leaving with little afterthought. Having just finished Darsan, my approach to "seeing" temples in the way the author describes has me eagerly excited to explore again. Diana Eck brilliantly describes, in simple terms, the importance of visual image to the Hindu culture and tradition.