The Airavatesvara temple is dedicated to Lord
Shiva. Shiva is
here known as Airavateshvara, because he was worshipped at this temple by Airavata,
the white elephant of the king of the gods, Indra.
Legend has it that Airavata, while suffering from a change of colour curse
from Sage Durvasa, had its colours restored by bathing in the sacred waters
of this temple. This legend is commemorated by an image of Airavata with
Indra seated in an inner shrine
This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture. The vimana is
85 feet high. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn
by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity's
consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar
temple(in the bottom in this page).
Living Chola Temples.
at Thanjavur, Gangaikonda
Darasuram were built by the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries CE and
have a lot of similarities.
The legend is that Airavata, the white elephant of Indra, worshipped Lord Siva
in this temple; so did also the King of Death, Yama. Tradition has it that the
presiding deity Airavateswarar cured Yama himself (the God of Death) who was
suffering under a Rishi's curse from 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 make a point to bathe in the
tank. In the recent past Raja Raja Chola and Karikala Chola worshipped the Siva
Lingam in this temple.
As Nataraja, Siva is made dancing on the demon of forgetfulness.Siva dances on
the demon of ignorance. It is a vigorous dance, full of the joy of the spirit.
This sculpture, high atop the temple, captures the grace as well as the agility
of the dynamic figure. The legs eloquently express the rhythm of the dance.
In Indic belief, one’s ignorance is the forgetting of the Truth that can so
easily be found again within one.
This is an other temple!the
consort of shiva ,Periya Nayaki Amman temple