Darasuram – an exquisite place that takes you back in time to enjoy all the beauty and richness of art. I was fortunate that I went to the temple to be awe-inspired by the creative beauty and the hardwork that was put up by our ancestors. The Airawadheswarar (Lord Shiva) temple was built during the 11th Century by King Rajendra Cholan, son of King RajaRaja – The Great! Airawadham means the elephant that Lord Indra has. The temple is full of great sculptures that you lose yourself in the beauty and the delicate artwork. The sculptures are so fine and minute that you can even feel the hair in the tail of a bull that is in the size of the match box sculpted in one of the 108 pillars in the main mandapam (hall). The temple is built with that concept that it is on top of an open Lotus flower, and if it rains in that place, rain water stays and gives an appearance that the temple is floating on the lotus flower. Another interesting thing about this temple is that when the temple has been built in such a way that there always a flow of water in the moat at the entrance of the temple, so that anyone entering the temple would wash their feet and go in clean. However, there is no water nowadays in the moat. The temple is maintained by the Archaelogical Society of India (ASI) and is declared as a heritage site by the UNESCO. Enjoy some pictures of the great temple.

Gopuram at Darasuram – Entrance to the Great Temple

Gopuram – Another view

Gopuram – Another view

Nandhi in front of the Gopuram
Behind the Nandhi is a staircase (that is now covered and protected) and is made of rock that each step will sound each of the seven swaras in order.

The outer wall of the temple and its Gopuram- now in desolate ruins

The view of the temple main mandapam
Designed as a chariot being pulled by horses
This mandapam host 108 pillars in which different epics and legends are carved to their minute details. An exquisite and a awesome work by the sculptor.

The Vimanam (tower) of the temple. An awesome piece of work!

A pillar in the main mandapam, carved out a single stone!

The front view of one of the pillars. Five animals combined into one
(Elephant -Trunk, Goat – Horn, Horse – Ears, Lion – Boday, Tiger – Legs and Paws)

Another view of the Airawadheshwarar temple vimana

Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)

Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple – Another view
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)

Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple – Front View
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)

A sculpture at Airawadeshwarar Temple, that is a gestalt of dancing ladies. Just look into the red box, you could see three dancers with one head. You have to cover the other two to see one lady in a dancing pose. The artist’s imagination is simply out of this world

The images of the 63 Nayanmars carved out in a stretch

Airawadeshwarar Temple – View from North East

Airawadeshwarar Temple and its main mandapam- View from North East

Airawadeshwarar Temple and its main mandapam- Another View from North East (In the picture – Vijayendran and Pradeep)

It is not just the stones here that fascinate, but the hardwork and the masterminds that made this happen. And of course, the grace of God (Lord Shiva) to have a temple built for Him . We should be really proud of our ancestors and ourselves. More high resolution pictures here. The temple is just 3 kms from Kumbakonam, a place near Tiruchirapalli (Trichy).

More to come, until then…