Monolithic “Martanda Bhairava” image and ''musical stone steps'' at Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram,TN

Martanda Bhairava. Airavateswara Temple,

Martanda Bhairava. Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram,

Martanda Bhairava sulpture, Darasuram,

Above image: Martanda Bhairava sulpture, Darasuram: This is a rare stone sculpture of  ''Martanda Bhairava''  from the “Dakshina Bhitti” (Southern Wall) of Maha Mandapa, Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram, Tamil Nadu.   This 900 Year old  monolithic image suggests the worship of a form of Bhairava in this part of Chola Nadu of past era ( now TN).   He is also called “Dandapani” – holding rod or Danda to punish sinners.  We can see him holding Khatvanga (a bone of fore arm/leg), Trisula (Trident) & Khadga (Sword)

God Martanda Bhairava,  an incarnation of Lord Shiva is widely worshipped by Hindus  in some parts of the Deccan region - Maharashtra and part of north Karnataka. Highly revered, it is said, there are 64 Bhairava forms, Martanda Bhairava is one of them.  He is riding on  a white horse with his consort Mahalsa seated behind him.  From  Malhari Mahatmya of the Brahmanda Purana, we understand that Martanda Bhairava manifested to destroy  the two demon brothers Malla and Mani who did all kinds of atrocities  in heaven.  Being annoyed the sages - Saptarishis  sought the help of God Shiva. With the power of the Sun Shiva became Bhairava  and his consort Parvati joined him as Adishakti Kali or Martanda Bhairavi or Mhalsa. River goddess Ganga joined the war as Bhanai and . Nandi transformed into a white horse and the trident of Lord Shiva became a sharp sword. In rage Martanda eliminated the demons across the universe and their rage did not come down, So  they were smeared with turmeric powder to calm the divine couple down. 

Martanda is commonly worshipped in the Deccan as Khandoba,  Martanda Bhairava, Malhari, or Malhar and there is popular temple  (Jejuri,) near Pune dedicated to Khandoba


Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram,

 Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram,

Above image:  Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram:  Close to the temple town of   Kumbakonam, TN is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple of  Thanjavur, the Gangaikonda cholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram town that are referred to as the Great Living Chola Temples. It was built by Chola emperor Rajaraja II in the 12th century CE. The temple is a store house of  amazing sculptures, intricate stone work; an interesting one being singing steps.

Covered singing steps Darasuram temple,

Sone musical steps Darasuram

Musical steps Airavateswara Temple, Darasuram,

Above images: Musical stone steps, Darasuram temple: The agra mandapa  with its attached square porch of 7 meters  has carefully made stone  carved steps that go from east to west. On its east, outside the main podium, is the bali- pitham  and surprisingly, it is produced as intricately carved balustraded steps. When one walks or steps on them, they produce a musical note; hence they are called the "singing steps. I have seen musical pillars at Nellaiappar temple, Thirunelveli and heard about ornate musical pillars of Humpi, KA.  It is rare to encounter  stone musical steps. that produce sound upon putting the steps on them.  I went to this temple a few times a few years ago, I missed them because those were short trips.  Anyway these rare sculptures bear testimony to the ingenuity of the stone workers who had a good knowledge of sound and the nature of rocks with which they make such wonders. ...........

Location Kumbakonam city,

Above image: Just like Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadu, Kumbakonam city in the heartland of the Delta region has lots of Hindu temples of great antiquity dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Devis. The nine Navagraha sthalams are located within a radius about 40 to 50 km from this place. The Mahamaha water tank of this place comes alive every 12 years during the famous Mahamaha festival ........