Darasuram Temple Kumbakonam

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2016

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About 4 kms from Kumbakonam is the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram. "Airavatham is an elephant (white in color) and vehicle of Lord Indra. It was cursed by sage Durvasa to lose its shining white. Airavatha came to this temple and regained his color after worshipping the Lord. Hence the deity came to be Airavatesvara (protector of the elephant)." View of temple, vimana then mandapam with pillars.

Entrance has a small gopuram. In front is Vinayagar-Bali pita-Nandhi pavilion. We reached at 4 pm so had click pics against evening sun. Raja Chola II 1146-1172 changed his capital from Gangaikonda Cholapuram to Raja Raja puram modern day Darasuram. The king constructed this temple between 1160 to 1162 a.d. Today it is a World Heritage Monument protected by UNESCO.

Back side of entrance gopuram. There is a well maintained park on all sides of the temple. 3 wow temples made by the Cholas that I visited, one is Brihadesvara Thanjavur, two Gangaikonda Cholapuram and third this one.

Ruins of main gopuram that would be temple entrance earlier-east facing.

Entrance - can see pillars. They have excellent miniature sculptures as you will see later.

Bas-reliefs at plinth level at entrance.

Bas-reliefs at plinth level. Left is woman dancing with musical instrument. Right centre person in Yogic posture, on either side are men playing musical instruments.

Plinth level. Right shows woman in stylish pose. Left shows man with foot on shoulder and holding hand of I think a man. Please help with better caption.

Plinth level shows two warriors on animal, looks more like a lion.

Temple under restoration. Image is of Nagaraja. There were sculptures of Ardhanareshwar, dancing Marthanda Bhairavar etc. To see their pics Click here

Design is of a horse with wheel of the chariot of the Muhamandapam. "Though much smaller in size when compared to the Brihadisvara temple at Tanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram, this temple is different as it is highly ornate in execution. "

The south side view of the Muhamandapam has five niches. (Agni, Indra, Brahma, Vishnu and Vayu).

View of horse and wheel of the chariot of the Muhamandapam. "The temple consists of a sanctum without a circumambulatory path and axial mandapas. The front mandapa known in the inscriptions as Rajagambhiran tirumandapam, is unique as it was conceptualised as a chariot with wheels. "

Niches have sculptures, chariot view, pillars and battlefield elephants. Loved this angular view. To see pics of the panels of the Muhamandapam Click here

West side. Vimana and Lingothbhavar. There are paintings on the Vimana, could not see due to restoration. To see pics Click here

Long corridor on either side of temple, u see one side. There were Suriya ligams in the corridor - missed seeing.

Right image is Shiva, left not sure.

Mini sculptures below big hall.

Left looks like family with monkey standing on lady. Right looks like all playing musical instruments.

This is close to the entrance where yagna took place.

View of pillars with miniature sculptures. There are 100 pillars in main mandapam. Pillars with Yali (mythological animal) see right of pic.

Top row men sitting on, left to right like looks Nandi, next is elephant, third is another animal and last is person.

Ladies and men at various levels, bottom of a pillar. To see pics of Ceiling of 100 Pillars main mandapam Click here

Front view from beginning of pillar to end from where sanctum starts. Even ceilings have work done, not so clear esp when it was quite dark in this area.

More close up of pillar. To see more close up pics of pillar sculptures Click here

5 minutes away from temple, went to home where saris made.

Saris on display. If you wish to buy contact S Nagarajan 91 94436 12641, 94420 49097 keerthikasilks@gmail.com

There is a Parvati temple a minute away from the earlier Shiv Mandir. Front view. It was made at a later date and indicates that thereafter Parvati temples were part of South Indian Shiva temples.

View from east side against evening sun. Missed seeing the Yamakunda Theertam (holy source of water) and Vilva tree.

Plinth level mini temples. Top left has animals like see in many Tamil Nadu temples. Right is sculpture on side wall of temple entrance.

North east side of temple.

View north east side - loved the design of stone that is wall for stairs. Should have come here early morning for better pics. Do not know why did not take a front view-not done so for a few temples during this January 2016 Tamil nadu temple yatra. Guess when one covers 70 odd temples in 18 days such mistakes happen.

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