Lying on the outskirts of the city, the town of Darasuram is best known for the Airavateshwara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built in the 12th century by Raja Raja Chola, a great Chola ruler. It houses shrines of Goddess Parvati, Lord Yama (god of death), Lord Subramanya and Goddess Saraswati, apart from an idol of Lord Shiva. Tourists can also admire the sculptured representations of Saptamatrikas and various Shaivite devotees. Right in front of the main shrine is a mandapa (open tent of sorts) of Alankara. The colonnade of piers at the mandapa has square panels on their sides, and each panel is covered in scenes sculpted from Shaivite traditions. On the south end of the mandapa, each base has large stone wheels supporting it and a horse to top it all, giving the mandapa the look of a chariot. During the 14th century, the temple's architectural designs were changed to brick-mortar statues in order to resemble the format used at the Big Temple in Thanjavur.

Other Attractions in Thanjavur