Located about 1 hour from Thanjavoor and 4 kilometers from Kumbakonam is another ancient but well preserved Shiva temple. This temple is also in the UNESCO’s world heritage site list.
Main Deity: Similar to the other Shaivaite temples in this region, lord Shiva here is present in the form of a massive Shiva Lingam. The Goddess here is known as Deva Nayaki. There is also a huge Nandi idol in the courtyard while entering the temple. Besides this, there are other shrines for Lord Yama and Lord Ganesha too.
Darasuram Shiva Temple Gopura
Temple Architecture: This temple was built in the 12 century under the reign of the Chola king Raja Chola II.
It has intricate stone architecture and is home to beautiful sculptures. The stone carvings and designs are similar to the Brihadishvara Temple or the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple. This temple is smaller in size to the other two.
The main mandap consists of hundreds of pillars that have intricate carvings. The vimana (crowning) is almost 24 feet high. At the southern side of the temple, one will find a majestic chariot, complete with a horse drawn carriage that is splendidly carved. Next two the temple, one can see stone slabs that have carvings of the seven nymphs or Sapta Maata on them.
One special feature of this temple is its “Balipeeth” or the sacrificial pier. To the south of this pedestal, it has 3 stone-carved steps that create a musical sound when struck.
The temple has spacious gardens. The paintings on the wall depict various forms of art, music and dances. The Northern wall has numerous inscriptions that pay an ode to various sages and saints
Temple Legend and Specialties: It is said that the white elephant (airavat) of Lord Indra, worshipped Lord Shiva at this please. Hence, the Lord is also known as Airavateeshwarar here. Once, after being cursed by sage Durvasa, Airavat lost his color and turned black. This color was restored after taking a dip in the holy tank at this temple.
This tank is also called “Yamaterrtham” as it is believed that the God of Death Yama once bathed in these waters. The water of this tank is considered to have healing powers and devotees are encouraged to take a dip in these waters.
Nearest Airport: Trichy
Railway Station: It is well connected to most cities in Tamil Nadu as well as Bangalore. It falls on the Chennai-Tanjore route.
Driving Distance: 380 Kms from Chennai and about 35 kms from Thanjavoor.