Monday, February 22, 2021

Airavatesvarar Temple, Kanchipuram – The Temple

Airavatesvarar Temple, Kanchipuram – The Temple

This Temple is facing towards west with a miniature three tiered Rajagopuram. A stucco image of Lord Shiva can be seen in the mid-tier of Rajagopuram. Nandi and Balipeedam can be found immediately after the Rajagopuram, facing the sanctum. The Sanctum Sanctorum consists of Sanctum and Mukha Mandapam. The Mukha Mandapam is supported by two Vyala pilasters. Dvarapalas can be seen at the entrance of the Mukha Mandapam.

Reliefs of Vinayaga can be seen above the Dvarapalas. Friezes of Bhootaganas can be seen on the lintel of the Mukha Mandapam. Sculpture of Urdhava Thandava Moorthy can be seen on the south facing interior wall of the Mukha Mandapam. He is depicted with six arms holding various weapons in his arms. Mother Parvathy can be seen towards his left side. His right leg is raised above his head.

Few Bhootha Ganas can also be seen in this sculpture. The sculpture is in damaged condition. A rare sculpture of Chakra Dhana Moorthy can be seen on north facing interior wall. He is seen in sitting posture along with his consort Parvathy. Lord Vishnu can be seen in the lower portion of the panel. He is depicted in worshipping posture. He is six armed and found performing poojas to the Linga.

There is another depiction of Lord Vishnu with his arms folded next to Lord Shiva showing his gratitude in receiving the Chakra from Lord Shiva. The Sanctum is guarded by Dvarapalas on both sides. A relief image of Vinayaga can be seen at the lintel of the sanctum. Bhootha gana frieze can be seen above Vinayaga. Presiding Deity is called as Airavatesvarar and is facing towards west. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam. Lingam is of Shodasa Dhara Linga (Linga with sixteen stripes).

There is a sculpture of Somaskanda flanked by Brahma and Vishnu on both sides in a panel can be seen behind Linga on the backside wall of sanctum. The Somaskanda panel is flanked by dvarapalakas on both sides. The North and south walls inside the sanctum have sculptures of Devas and Asuras. The Vimana over the sanctum would have followed Nagara style but the vimana had been lost completely now.

Sculptures of Mahishasura Mardini, Tripurantaka, Brahma, Kala Samhara Moorthy, Naga, Bikshadana and Parvathy can be seen around the external walls of Sanctum and Mukha Mandapam. Six standing Vyala (lion) pillars are found across the exterior walls. Chandikeswarar Shrine can be in his usual location. Kamakshi Amman of Kanchi Kamakshi temple is considered as the consort of Lord Shiva. There is a shrine for Vinayaga in the south west corner of the temple premises.

No comments: