Constructed in the 12th century under the aegis of King Raja Raja II, the Airavateeswara Temple was further improved upon by subsequent Nayak kings. Although under the patronage of the Thanjavur Royal family, the temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India as it is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the area – the Thanjavur’s Brihadeeswara Temple and Gangaikondacholapuram.
An amazing display of architecture and sculpture finesse of that era, the temple requires a good couple of hours to really see and appreciate its beauty. The finesse and intricacies in the stone work and the detailing in the sculptures leaves one spell bound. The pillars of the main hall are sculptured depicting scenes from the daily lives of the people of the 12th century and also scenes from the Puranas. The Vimanam or the hall of the main sanctum is in the shape of a chariot with wheels on one side and elephants and horses supporting it on the other. The most interesting part though is the steps leading to the sacrificial stone (bali peetham). Made of stone, the steps produce different musical scales if another stone is rolled down on them. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the outer walls of the temple have niches in them that hold idols of other deities. Located at Darasuram, the road leading to this place is lined with workshops of present day stone craftsmen who still carve and sculpt statues of Gods along with those of animals and birds.
|Timings||All days of the week 5:00 AM - 12:00 PM 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM|
|Visit Duration||1 to 2 hours|