Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple; One Among The Threee Great Living Chola Temples

Darasuram is famous for the 12th century Airavatesvara Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola II. Airavatesvara Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple and Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple. These 3 temples are called the Great Living Chola Temples.

Sanctum of Airavateshwarar temple at Darasuram
Sanctum of Airavateshwarar temple at Darasuram

Airavatesvara Temple is Dedicated to Lord Shiva. Deity of Lord Shiva’s consort is the deity at the Periya Nayaki Amman temple, situated on the north of Airavatesvara Temple.

The temple is known for its stone carvings and is a treasure for art and architecture lovers.
Various inscriptions in the temple describes the 63 Saivite saints (Saivite is the section of people worshiping Lord Shiva) and the events associated with them along with their images. Other inscriptions gives details of the renovation work done to the temple by Kulottunga Chola III.

Sculpture at Airavateshwarar temple, Darasuram
Sculpture at Airavateshwarar temple, Darasuram

How Do I Go to Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple?

Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram is located near to Kumbakonam Town, which is well connected to other parts of the state. There is a railway station at Kumbakonam. Thanjavur airport is the nearest airport at 28 kilometers away.

Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple, is a famous Shiva temple situated at Thanjavur alias hotels in Tanjore in Tamilnadu state of India. Brihadeeswarar Temple, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is part of “Great Living Chola Temples“.

Brihadeeswarar Temple
Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar Temple is called “Peruvudaiyar Kovil” in local language Tamil, Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur or Thanjur, is a temple built using granite in Tamil architecture by the emperor Raja Raja Chola I alias Arulmozhivarman in 1010 AD. Thanjavur alias Thanjur is famous for art, architecture, culture and religion.

Brihadeeswarar Temple is one of the largest temples in India and hence called the ‘big temple‘ or ‘Periya Kovil’ in Tamil. This temple is also known as RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram, Brihadeshwara Temple.

Peruvudaiyar Kovil was the largest building built fully with granite. brihadeeswarar temple is built in Dravida type of temple architecture. The temple construction was completed in 5 years. The temple is at a raised height of around 5 meters from ground level. The raised platform is full of stone deities and carvings, showing various Lord Shiva dance forms.

The temple tower with a height of 216 feet (66 meters) is one of the tallest temple towers. The apex or ‘Kumbam’, weighing about 81 tons is carved out of a single rock.

Nandi Statue Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar TempleNandi Statue Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple.   Image courtesy  РBala Subrahmanyam

There is a 16 feet long ,13 feet high ‘Nandi statue’ at the entrance. weighing around 20 tonnes which is carved out of a single rock.

How Do I Go to Brihadeeswarar Temple alias Brihadeeswara Temple?

Brihadeeswarar Temple alias Big Temple is well connected by road and railway network to other parts of the country. “Thanjavur Junction” is the nearest railway station to the famous Big temple at Thanjavur. Thajavur alias Tanjore is well connected by regular trains to Chennai, the capital city of the state. Chennai is at around 229 kilometers from Thanjavur. Tiruchirapalli Airport at around 49 kilometers distance, is the nearest airport to the temple city of Thanjavur. The nearest major international airport is at Chennai.

Commemorative Coin on Brihadeeswarar Temple alias Big Temple

In 2010, on the occasion of 1000th anniversary of the Temple, Goverment of India has released 1000 rupee coins with the picture of Brihadeeswarar temple alias Big Temple.