The Airavatesvara Temple is one of the three Great Living Chola Temples, 11th- and 12th-century Hindu temples constructed during the 1,500-year Chola dynasty in modern-day southern India’s state of Tamil Nadu. Located in Darasuram, the Airavatesvara Temple was built by King Rajaraja Chola II.
After more than 850 years, it remains a key surviving example of Chola architecture and craftsmanship, but what makes the temple all the more exceptional is that within this craftsmanship is one of the world’s oldest optical illusions. Among the intricate carvings dated between 1146 and 1170 is an elephant or a bull. Or is it an elephant and a bull?
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