Darasuram is another small town not far from Gangaikondacholapuram. Its lovely Airavateshwara Temple was built by the same Chola king who built the temple at Gangaikondacholapuram. It is smaller and simpler than the other and well worth a visit.

Darasuram Darasuram
Airavateshwara Temple entrance gopuram Mandapa in the courtyard
Darasuram Darasuram
Dancers on the base of the mandapa Statues on the upper walls

On the walls are a number of very nice Chola statues in black basalt.

Shiva Parvati
Ardhanarishvara - composite
androgynous figure of
Shiva and Parvati
Darasuram Darasuram
Curled elephant-trunk balustrades
on mandapa staircase
Mythical beasts on bases of
columns of mandapa

The mandapa is particularly interesting, as it uses a device seen in some other Indian temples: It is designed to imitate a chariot -- complete with wheels and pulled by horses. Notice that the mandapa has beautiful staircase balustrades in the form of elephant trunks. This device is also seen elsewhere (as at Thanjavur), but is particularly graceful here.

Darasuram Darasuram
View of the courtyard and vimana Another basalt statue
Mandapa ceiling Mandapa
Mandapa ceiling Pillars and child in the mandapa

By this time, we'd done lots of temple visiting and were happy to get to Thanjavur and rest. 

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