Airavatesvara Temple World Heritage Site

12th century Chola Hindu temple, UNESCO world heritage site

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Airavatesvara Temple
UNESCO World Heritage Site
A different view of Airavatesvara Temple.jpg
The main temple
LocationThanjavur District, Darasuram, India
Part ofGreat Living Chola Temples
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iii)
Reference250-003
Inscription1987 (11th session)
Extensions2004
Coordinates10°56′54″N 79°21′24″E / 10.94841111112°N 79.356708333397°E / 10.94841111112; 79.356708333397
Airavatesvara Temple is located in India
Airavatesvara Temple
Location of Airavatesvara Temple in India

Airavatesvara Temple is a Hindu temple of Dravidian architecture located in the town of Darasuram, near Kumbakonam, Thanjavur District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This temple, built by Rajaraja 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 that are referred to as the Great Living Chola Temples.[1]

The Airavatesvarar temple is one among a cluster of eighteen medieval era large Hindu temples in the Kumbakonam area, Thanjavur District.[2] The temple is dedicated to Shiva. It also reverentially displays Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism, along with the legends associated with Nayanmars – the Bhakti movement saints of Shaivism.[3][4]

The stone temple incorporates a chariot structure, and includes major Vedic and Puranic deities such as Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Brahma, Surya, Vishnu, Saptamtrikas, Durga, Saraswati, Sri devi (Lakshmi), Ganga, Yamuna, Subrahmanya, Ganesha, Kama, Rati and others.[5] Shiva's consort has a dedicated shrine called the Periya Nayaki Amman temple. This is a detached temple situated to the north of the Airavateshvarar temple. This might have been a part of the main temple when the outer courts were complete. At present, parts of the temple such as the gopuram is in ruins, and the main temple and associated shrines stand alone.[6] It has two sun dials namely morning and evening sun dials which can be seen as wheels of the chariot. The temple continues to attract large gatherings of Hindu pilgrims every year during Magha, while some of the images such as those of Durga and Shiva are part of special pujas.[5][7]

  1. ^ "Great Living Chola Temples". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  2. ^ Ayyar 1992, pp. 349-350
  3. ^ S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1979, pp. 225-245.
  4. ^ Indira Menon (2013). Rhythms in Stone, The Temples of South India. Ambi. p. 118. ISBN 978-81-903591-3-9.
  5. ^ a b S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 1979, pp. 225-234.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference ayyar351 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Pratapaditya Pal; Stephen P. Huyler; John E. Cort; et al. (2016). Puja and Piety: Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent. Univ of California Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-520-28847-8.

Nearby Places

  • Swamimalai

    panchayat town/Sub urban in Tamil Nadu, India

  • Darasuram

    Panchayat town/Suburban in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India

  • Perumandi

    Village in Tamil Nadu, India

  • Ullur

    village in Tamil Nadu, India

  • Swaminathaswamy temple, Swamimalai
  • Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Kumbakonam

    Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, India

  • Tippirajapuram

    village in Tamil Nadu, India

  • Thenupuriswarar Temple, Patteeswaram
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Kumbakonam
  • Sakkottai, Thanjavur district

    village in Tamil Nadu, India

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