Airavateshwara Temple, Darasuram
I made this trip in January and got around to posting about it only now. Oh well, better late than never.
I went to Darasuram with my dad, and visited the Airavateshwara Temple, one of the three Chola temples in the Unesco list. We went to Kumbakonam, and took an auto from there to Darasuram, just 3 kms away.
Since it was January, the day, although sunny, was very pleasant. The Airavateshwara temple was built by the Chola king Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD. The presiding deity of this temple is Airavateshwara, a form of Lord Shiva. The main mantapa is shaped like a ratha or chariot, drawn by horses. It is believed that Lord Indra’s white elephant Airavata, whose skin had changed color after being cursed by Sage Durvasa, worshipped Lord Shiva here, and had colour restored. Hence the name Airavateshwara. There is another legend, that Lord Yama, the Hindu God of death, suffering from a burning sensation all over his skin (again after being cursed by a rishi), prayed in this temple and took a dip in its holy pond, and was cured.
We walked around the temple complex taking some pictures, fooled around with the wide angle lens for a while, and then proceeded to the smaller, but equally exquisite Periya Nayaki Amman temple, right next door.
When we stepped out of the second temple, a man walked up to us and asked if we would like to watch silk being woven. We obviously said yes and followed him into his workshop just a few buildings away, where men and women were busy dying and weaving silk. It is all on a very small scale, but very interesting to watch.
~ If you are visiting this region, don’t forget to try the delicious rose soda locally known as paneer (tamil for rose water) soda. Super-yummy.
~ There is an ASI-authorized guide in the temple complex – it might be a good idea to hire him – we didn’t, and we regretted it when we saw him do a really good job with another group of toursits.