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Airavateswara temple, Darasuram

Tamil Nadu, the south Indian state is home to many ancient temples, known for their architectural beauty and grandeur. The Pallava, Chola and Pandya rulers who ruled the state evolved their own styles of temple architecture, the uniqueness of which is retained even now.

One such temple is the Airavateswara temple, Darasuram, near Kumbakonam. This temple was built by the Chola ruler, during the reign of Rajaraja Chola II. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Darasuram is the corrupted name of Rajarajeswaram.

Both the exterior and the interior of the temple are filled with these fine artistic works, in different sizes and shapes. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. Paintings and sculptured panels abound here, causing this shrine to be a veritable storehouse of art. In front of the temple are stone panels which produce tones of varying pitches when struck.

The Vimana or the small pyramidal tower consisting of several progressively smaller stories, which is typical of the south Indian temple architecture, is another attraction here. In the video, the exterior sculptures of Airavateswara temple are seen.