Darasuram Airavateshwara temple sculpture, an amazing work of the hunter devotee of shiva, kannapar. We will see his story in more detail later, but one curious aspect of this sculpture attracted me to it. Its a splendid depiction of kannapar, the bow slung on his shoulders, the devotion in his face are brilliantly captured. But as you complete the sweep of the eye, the feet and what he wears on them startles you – a pair of lovely sandals.
Normally one would refrain from wearing footwear inside Indian temples and so too are the sculptures inside, atleast the majority of them, the exceptions being shiva as the charming ascetic – shiva bhikshadhana and kannappar. Why is he depicted wearing these sandals? to answer that we need to go back to fourth thirumurai ( thanks to Mr. V. Subramanian again for giving me this verse reference)
In short, the ardent devotee kannapar, guarding the shrine of shiva with his bow and arrow on one hand, the cooked meat ( we will see this too later) on the other hand, wearing a large slipper made of animal hide….( and so goes the description)
Now you see how intricately the sculptor has characterised each subject he worked on down to last detail.