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The great Dravidian art

The traditional temple architecture of Tamil Nadu entered a new phase during the Chola dynasty (900-1250 AD). The early Chola temples were smaller but the size increased in the later period, with the Vimanas or the towers dominating the landscape.

Airavateswara temple at Darasuram, Tamil Nadu, is a fine specimen for later Chola style of architecture. This temple has the most artistic stone pillars and decorations on its walls, in a style bordering on mannerism, with an emphasis on elongated limbs and polished features.

Best among them are the dark black basalt figures in the temple niches of Dakshinamurti, the image on the southern side of Shiva in a teaching attitude, and to the west, Shiva erupting out of the pillar of light to convince Brahma and Vishnu of his superiority. The front mandapam is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses.