Day 3- After Lunch at the INDeco Swamimalai Heritage Hotel
The Airavateswara temple at Darasuram was constructed by the Rajaraja Chola II in1150 A.D. The temple is a recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the three Great Living Chola temples. I would visit two, this one just briefly.
The temple stands out for its intricate, beautiful sculptures and pillars. The place is bursting with art in stone carvings, statuary and painted works. The detail in the engraving is in amazingly good condition, especially the smaller spaces that were more protected.
The shrine takes the shape a chariot with large stone wheels that are pulled by an elephant and horse. The temple starts with a mahadwara, or main entrance on the eastern side. Inside this are 108 pillars, each with exquisite sculptures depicting a historical event or a dancing moment. There is also an entire sequence of yoga positions.
A fleet of steps made of stone in the palipeeda (another building) are said to produce musical notes. I somehow missed this.
The temple was originally dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to legends, Airavata, the mythical white elephant, worshiped Shiva here and hence the temple gets its name. The temple has a tank whose waters are believed to have curative powers.
The Archaeological Survey of India is maintaining the temple with lush green lawns in front and illumination, thus making the temple a tourist spot.