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Airavateshwarar Temple
About Shiva  -  Shiva Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 5 Days
Location : Darasuram near Kumbakonam.
Main Deity : Iravadesvar.
Nearest Town : Kumbakonam District : Thanjavur State : Tamil Nadu
Iravadesvar is the deity and as usual, there is legend for this temple too. Iravasam is the elephant white in colour, and is the mount of Indra. Once having caused the anger of sage Durvasa, it was cursed to lose its shrining white color. The elephant came to this place and was its original color restored after worshipping the deity. Hence the deity came to be known as Iravadeswarar and in this temple is the elephant Iravada with Indra on its back.

This temple differs from other temples in one aspect. In the south prakara is an extension of Muka Mandapa through which only one can go to the sanctum. No tall gopura greats one at the entrance but the Vimana over the sanctum is an excellent substitute. The projected hall is vertable gallery of art and each pillar carries a masterpiece of carving through small. A flight of steps led to the mandapa. The balustrade that forms the side of the flight of steps is formed into a trunk of an elephant. Siva is merged in Uma to the left. Sage Bringi while worshipping Siva neglected Uma as of no consequence. Uma enraged fused into Siva to prevent the sage from worshipping Siva alone. However, the sage adamant as he was took the form of a bee, pierced through the fused body and circumambulated Siva alone. Uma cursed him and his legs were paralysed. Siva took pity on him, and provided him with a third leg.

A Naradana Ganapathi only 2 inches tall attract us. The sculptors not content with carving a dimunitive. Ganesa has provided it with sharp tusks. The front pillars rest on the head of Yalis resembling Rajasimha pallava pillars, end in a bulbous form from which lotus petal rediate, and support a wide Palagai.The next place of importance is the prakaram. In the south prakara in a mandapa like niche is the Saraba Murthi. Siva took the form of Sarabha, a mixture of animal and bird, to kill Narasimha whose anger and ferociousness did not abate after killing Hiranya. He is also known as Simhagna Murthi as he has a lion’s face. The ferocious figure has eight hands, two wide wings, three eyes, a tail and sharp claws.
This temple is unique in two aspects. One is that 108 Sivacharyas with names for some are found. Tatpurusha Siva, Aghora Siva, Esana Siva, Sadasiva Ananda Siva, Vairagya Siva and Dharma Siva are some. Another feature is the representation of the 63 Nayanmars illustrating some event in their life.