Exteriors of Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram

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The Airavateswara temple, Darasuram, near Kumbakonam is one of the fine specimens of traditional temple architecture of Tamil Nadu, India.

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.

The sculptures here depict Lord Shiva as the Kankala Murti, the mendicant. Stories from epics and Hindu mythology are also depicted. In the year 2004, Archaeological Survey of India excavated and restored the temple. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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