A treasure-house of art - Airavateswara temple

One of the most magnificent architectural creations of the Cholas, of great delicate beauty, is the Airavateswara temple in Darasuram, situated very close to Kumbakonam, the well-known temple-town. It is one of the four great royal temples of the Chola dynasty which, in chronological order are the Brihadeeswara (Rajarajeswaram) in Tanjavur, the Brihadeeswara (Gangaikonda choleeswaram) in Gangaikondacholapuram, the Airavateswara (Rajarajeswaram) in Darasuram and the Kampahareswara (Tribhuvana veereswara) in Tribhuvanam. If the towering vimanas of the temples in Tanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram take your breath away, so does the intricate workmanship in Darasuram. Constructed in the reign of Rajaraja Chola II (1146- 1173 AD), during the waning phase of Chola history, the temple has several outstanding features.