Shiv Jee | Shiv Temples
Location - Darasuram, Near Kumbaakonam (Tamil Naadu, India)
Each step of this Temple emits a different tone of the musical scale at the entrance near the Nandee bull. Kept locked to prevent vandalism. Darasuram is a small town near Kumbaakonam in Tamil Naadu State in Southern India. It is known for the Airaavateshwar Temple built by Raajaraajaa Chola II between 1146-63. The Temple is constructed in a way as if the whole Temple is a chariot encased in a lotus floating on a lake. The Vimaan is 85 feet high. This along with the Brihadeshwar Temple in Thanjaavar and the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple is part of the Great Living Chola Temple inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The legend goes to show that Airaavat, the white elephant of Indra, worshipped Shiv in this Temple; so did also the King of Death, Yam Raaj. Tradition has it that the presiding deity Airaavateshwar cured Yam himself (the God of Death) who was suffering under a Rishi's curse from a burning sensation all over the body. Yam took bath in the sacred tank and got rid of the burning sensation. Since then the tank is known as Yam Teerth. It gets its supply of fresh water from the river Kaaveree River and is 228 feet in width.
The temple is a treasure trove for art and architecture. The numerous carvings depict not only the gods and their stories but also daily life as witnessed in those days. There are depictions of all the Bharat Naatyam poses, and many figures of women in gymnastic poses. At the entrance to the temple are two Dwaarapaal, Shankhanidhi and Padmanidhi. In front of the Temple, there is a small Mandap, which can be reached by 3 steps in the form of a ladder. The steps are made of stones, which give different musical sounds when tapped and one can hear all the seven Swar at different points. One needs many hours to truly experience the wonder of this Temple and it is good to have a a guide explain the intricacies and the many carvings.
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013