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In this temple of Tamil Nadu, pillars make music

In this temple of Tamil Nadu, pillars make music

This temple is declared a global heritage by UNESCO. This is a Hindu temple which was built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century of southern India. Located 3 Kilometers away from the Kumbakonam, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India you can find 12th-century Hindu temple, Airavatesvara Temple. The Airavatesvara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is known here as Airavateshwar because, in this temple, Lord Shiva was worshiped by Eravat, the white elephant of Lord Indra.


Design of The Temple

Temple is constructed as if the whole temple is a chariot encased in a lotus floating on a lake. The vimana is 85 feet high. The temple is a treasure trove of art and architecture. The southern part of the Mandapam in front is in the form of a huge chariot with big wheels, which are pulling horses. There is a group of carved buildings in the east of the courtyard. One of which is called Balipit means the place of sacrifice. There is a small temple on Balipet’s chair, in which there is an image of Ganesh Ji. The numerous carvings depict not only the gods and their stories but also daily life as witnessed in those days.


Musical steps in the entrance

The entrance of the temple has musical steps made of stones, which produces seven different sounds on tap. Each step emits a different tone of the musical scale. One can hear all the seven Swaras at different points. When one walks or steps on them, they produce a musical note. They are therefore called the “singing steps”.

But, to protect them from damage, these musical steps have been covered with metal grills.



History of the temple

It is believed that Eiravat elephant was white but due to the curse of Rishi Durvasa, the elephant’s color started fading away, soon he got his white color back by bathing in the holy water of this temple. There are many inscriptions in the temple. One of which depicts information about the renovation of the temples by Kulotunga Chola III. The north wall of the verandah consists of 108 sections of inscriptions, each containing the name and description and image of the 63 Saivacharya (Saivite saints) listing the principal events in their life. Another inscription close to the gopura records that an image was brought from Kalyani, then known as Kalyanapura by emperor Rajadhiraja Chola I after his defeat of the Western Chalukya king Someshwara I, his sons Vikramaditya VI and Someshwara II his capture of the Chalukyan capital. Airavatesvara Temple was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list of Great Living Chola Temples in the year 2004.



The Great Living Chola Temples includes the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. All of these temples were built by the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries CE and have a lot of similarities.



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