Airavatesvara Temple is a Hindu temple of Dravidian Architecture located in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam,Tamilnadu. This temple, built by Raja Raja Chola II in the 12th century CE is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur & the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram these are often referred to as the Great Living Chola temples.
Legend: The Airavatesvara temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Siva is here known as Airavateshvara, because he was worshiped at this temple by Airavata the white elephant mount of Lord Indra, King of Swarga Loka..
Legend has it that Airavata, while suffering from a change of color
curse from Sage Durvasa, had his colors restored by bathing in the
sacred waters of this temple. This legend is commemorated by an image of
Airavata with Indra seated in an inner shrine.
Yama: It is said that the King of Death,Yama also worshiped Shiva here. Tradition has it Yama, who was suffering
under a Rishi's curse from a burning sensation all over the body, was
cured by the presiding deity Airavatesvarar. Yama took bath in the
sacred tank and got rid of the burning sensation. Since then the tank
has been known as Yamatheertham.
his temple is a storehouse of art and architecture and has some exquisite stone carvings. The Vimanam (tower) is 24 m (80 ft) high The south side of the front mandapam (pillared hall) is in the form of a huge chariot with large stone wheels
drawn by horses.The pictures speak volumes about the temple and the
exquisite amazing & awesome art & architecture of this temple.