Sunday, December 03, 2006

Awe-Inspiring Darasuram

Darasuram - an exquisite place that takes you back in time to enjoy all the beauty and richness of art. I was fortunate that I went to the temple to be awe-inspired by the creative beauty and the hardwork that was put up by our ancestors. The Airawadheswarar (Lord Shiva) temple was built during the 11th Century by King Rajendra Cholan, son of King RajaRaja - The Great! Airawadham means the elephant that Lord Indra has. The temple is full of great sculptures that you lose yourself in the beauty and the delicate artwork. The sculptures are so fine and minute that you can even feel the hair in the tail of a bull that is in the size of the match box sculpted in one of the 108 pillars in the main mandapam (hall). The temple is built with that concept that it is on top of an open Lotus flower, and if it rains in that place, rain water stays and gives an appearance that the temple is floating on the lotus flower. Another interesting thing about this temple is that when the temple has been built in such a way that there always a flow of water in the moat at the entrance of the temple, so that anyone entering the temple would wash their feet and go in clean. However, there is no water nowadays in the moat. The temple is maintained by the Archaelogical Society of India (ASI) and is declared as a heritage site by the UNESCO. Enjoy some pictures of the great temple.



Gopuram at Darasuram - Entrance to the Great Temple



Gopuram - Another view



Gopuram - Another view




Nandhi in front of the Gopuram
Behind the Nandhi is a staircase (that is now covered and protected) and is made of rock that each step will sound each of the seven swaras in order.



The outer wall of the temple and its Gopuram- now in desolate ruins




The view of the temple main mandapam
Designed as a chariot being pulled by horses
This mandapam host 108 pillars in which different epics and legends are carved to their minute details. An exquisite and a awesome work by the sculptor.



The Vimanam (tower) of the temple. An awesome piece of work!





A pillar in the main mandapam, carved out a single stone!


The front view of one of the pillars. Five animals combined into one
(Elephant -Trunk, Goat - Horn, Horse - Ears, Lion - Boday, Tiger - Legs and Paws)



Another view of the Airawadheshwarar temple vimanam



Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)


Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple - Another view
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)



Dheiva Nayaki Amman Temple - Front View
(Temple beside the Airawadeshwarar Temple)



A sculpture at Airawadeshwarar Temple, that is a gestalt of dancing ladies. Just look into the red box, you could see three dancers with one head. You have to cover the other two to see one lady in a dancing pose. The artist's imagination is simply out of this world




The images of the 63 Nayanmars carved out in a stretch




Airawadeshwarar Temple - View from North East




Airawadeshwarar Temple and its main mandapam- View from North East

Airawadeshwarar Temple and its main mandapam- Another View from North East (In the picture - Vijayendran and Pradeep)

It is not just the stones here that fascinate, but the hardwork and the masterminds that made this happen. And of course, the grace of God (Lord Shiva) to have a temple built for Him . We should be really proud of our ancestors and ourselves. More high resolution pictures here. The temple is just 3 kms from Kumbakonam, a place near Tiruchirapalli (Trichy).

More to come, until then...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the wonderful pictures of the temple. Just out of curiosity, do think the architecture of other temples of the same time period and Darasuram temple have some unique features, that reflect the shilpi shastra that was practiced.
Is the temple under disrepair? Are the regular poojas being carried out?
When I see new temples that are constructed at almost every city outside of India,I pose myself this question. Will the funds be more fruitfully employed if directed towards preserving the dilapidated temples back home or constructing new ones which will help continue the Hindu heritage to next generation. Well, time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,

Very good post as usual...

Any idea why the siva is named after Airavadham. Muktheeshwarar of Airawadhanallur at my home town (Madurai) is believed to be the one worshipped by the white elephant of indra to get relieved from the curse earned for smashing a garland. The temple is a big one with beautiful Maragadavalli sametha muktheeshwarar. It is on one side of the Mariamman Teppakulam. Heavenly temple.

Priya

R.Prabhu said...

@Anonymous
Thanks! Yes indeed, each temple has its own unique features that the Sthabadhi would have inserted as a part of his creativity. The temple is disrepaired and of course thanks to ASI for its maintenance and renovation works that are being carried out. I my opinion, the treasures that we have in our hand are those temples. Those temples show who we are! These are the cherished treasures that we need to preserve and hand it off to the next generations. So I concur with your idea of employing funds to maintain these age old temples that have stood for centuries, rather than building new temples. This was what Kanchi Periyavar (Sri Chandrasekara Saraswathi Swamigal) told, but was misunderstood by the people, as if he said people not to build new temples :). Anyways time has to answer!

@Priya
Thanks, visit this link for the details about the name for Lord Shiva. And Thanks once again for the Muktheeshwarar temple details. Will try to worship the God in the temple when I come to Madurai

Ravi said...

Prabhu, konja naal post illadhadhukku oru virundhe koduthuteenga. Arumai, arumai miga arumai. The photos, description ellaame romba arumai. When I visit Dharasuram, I will definitely take a print out of your post as a guide. Thanks again Prabhu for a lovely post.

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks a lot, Ravi!

Anonymous said...

Congrat prabu.. Really Great Work..when i am looking for the content for my web site(dream website...still it is in conceptual stage), i have seen your blog accidentally. It is excellent. I think I can get lots of info from you blog...Thank you

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks, Tamilalagan! My wishes for you blog to come up well!

mona said...

Dear Prabhu,

Love your write ups and temple descriptions and tamil verses.
Though not well versed in Tamil since I didn't study it officially, I can read and to my amazement understand the Tirumoolar, Avvai and Azhwar. Maybe these spiritual giants make their verses simple for this very reason. Tamil is sweet and to bring such gems to us deserves our gratitude at the least. Please post more and more.
Not yet gone through the temple posts, I am doing it slowly so as to savor everything thoroughly.

Thanks, Mona

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Mona,

Welcome to my blog. It's happy to hear that you like the content. It's even more great to hear that you are able to understand Thirumoolar, Azhwars and Avvai. They have left us the treasures to cherish for a lifetime. Will post more in the days to come...

Thank you once again...

Regards,
R.Prabhu