Oh what a beauty it is – the grand Airavastesvara Temple in Darasuram. The temple located in Kumbakonam is a treasure-trove of history, facts and amazing art. The construction of the temple dates back to the 12th century CE and was built by the renowned Chola king Rajaraja Chola II. Architecture, sculptures, paintings, bronze casting – the temple reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Chola dynasty. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is named after ‘Airavat’, the majestic white elephant of Lord Indra.
A part of the trio of ‘Great Chola Temples’ that also include the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholeeswaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavastesvara Temple is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The art work that adorns the temple is extremely detailed, intricate and beautiful. It’s sheer poetry in stone. Built in the Dravidian architectural style, the main stone work of the building resembles a chariot. The entire temple complex is filled with rich carvings and inscriptions that narrate stories from ancient Indian Puranas. Words don’t do justice to the charm and splendour that the structure emanates; it’s one to be seen and experienced.
Yet another mind-blowing part of the temple are the musical steps. These 7 singing steps that lead to the altar are intricately carved and represent seven musical notes. What a fascinating work of art that dates back to thousands of years.
All these features make the temple complex a truly must-visit destination on your trip to Tamil Nadu.