Travel Guide to Darasuram, Tamil Nadu
Darasuram or Dharasuram is a panchayat town located 3 kilometres from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The town is known for the Airavateswara temple constructed by the Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD. In 2004, the temple was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage monument, but is slowly turning into ruins because of improper maintenance.
Although a very small town, Darasuram is famous for its Shiva Shrine ruins of Airavateshwara Temple. The Airavateshwara Temple is one of the finest examples of the the Dravidian architecture and is named after the mythical white elephant, Airavata, who is known for his devotion of ord Shiva. The temple is 85' tall and has excusitie architecture, sculptures and paintings. Although the temple is much smaller than its contemporaries like the Brihadeeshwara temple or the Gangaikondacholisvaram temple, it is far more elegant in its details. The entire temple is said to been built with nitya-vinoda or 'perpetual entertainment' in mind.
The legend says that Airavata, the white elephant of Indra, worshipped Lord Siva in this temple. As originally Airavata worshipped the Lingam, it is named after him as Airavateswara. The Goddess in this temple is known as Deva Nayaki. The carvings contain different poses shown by females keeping their head at the centre and legs interwoven and these have been elegantly carved in.
The King of Death, Yama (the God of Death) is also said to have worshipped here. Tradition has it that the presiding deity Airavateswara cured Yama himself, who was suffering under a Rishi's curse with a burning sensation all over the body. Yama took a bath in the sacred tank and was rid of the burning sensation. Since then the tank is known as Yamateertham. It gets its supply of fresh water from the river Kaveri and is 228 feet in width. Pilgrims and tourists to Darasuram make a point to bathe in the tank.
How to reach Darasuram
By Air: The nearest airport is Trichy (85 Kms).
By Rail: It is accessible by train from most cities of Tamil Nadu and falls on the Chennai-Tanjore line.
By Road: It is 380 Kms from Chennai and about 35 kms from Thanjavur.
1. Airavata Shiva Shrine: The most famous temple structure at Darasuram.
2. Kumbakonam: The famous temple town, is known for its intricately carved idols, fine brassware (especially lamps), silk and betel leaves.
3. Tanjore: Just 35 Kms from Darasuram, it has the very famous Brihadeeshwara temple. Some exquisite silk saris and ornate and gilded Tanjore paintings are famous for this region.
The Pooja Timings at the Shiva Shrine Temple:
* Pradosham event monthly twice
* Shangadahara Chaturthi once in a month
* Pournami Pooja (Girivalam) on full moon days
* Annaabishegam (rice abishegam) for the Shiva Linga once in a year.
Deiva Nayagi Amman
Navarathiri days and Every Friday
Every Sunday 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm (Raghu kaalam) organized by Sarabeswarar weekly vazhipaattu mandram
Every Thursday 4:30pm organized by Dhakshinamoorthy weekly vazhipaattu mandram