Did you know the sun temple of konark in india is one of the unique temples around the world??? Yes, it is … because of artistic magnificence and engineering dexterity. The name Konark is derived from the words Kona – Corner and Arka – Sun; it is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. The mythological reference is that Lord Krishna’s son Sambawas cured of leprosy by Sun god and he built the temple in the honour of Surya. Another story goes like this : Sun Temple of Konark, once contained a giant lodestone magnet, which held the entire edifice together by its force. This was so powerful that it used to disrupt the magnetic compass of the ships going through that route.The Portuguese removed the main magnet or lodestone as it was the cause of the destruction of lot of their ships and destroyed it. This lead to the collapse of most of the temple structure.
The temple was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.. The temple is built in Kalinga style of Architecture in east to west direction in such a way that the rays of the rising sun fall on the idol of the Solar diety in the main sanctum. It took 12 years its completion. Works started in 1245 AD and completed in 1256 AD. It has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1984.
It’s known as “Black Pagoda” due to its dark color and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Odisha. The black colour of Sun Temple could be due to the accumulation of moss, lichen and other fungal growth which turned the surface of the temple into black colour. Its magnetic power drew ships into the shore and caused shipwrecks in the past.
The large structure of Konark Temple seen today is actually the entrance of the main temple. The main temple which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off and only the remains can be seen. The temple is erected in the form of a huge chariot of Surya, the sun god. This chariot is placed on twelve pairs of splendidly carved wheels and drawn by seven dynamic horses. According to one saying, these 12 pair of wheels symbolizes 24 hours in a day, while the other say, these wheels represent 12 months of the year. Seven days of the week are said to be the representation of seven horses. These wheels are not ordinary wheels but are inspiration for the modern time watches. The spokes of the wheels create a sundial and one can calculate the precise time of the day by just looking at the shadow cast by these spokes.
On either side of the entrance of the Konark Sun temple has two huge lions. Each lion is shown crushing an elephant. Beneath each elephant lies the human body. Lion represents pride and elephant represents money. What a wonderful thought…!!!! It depicts problems faced by Human beings.
Around the base of the temple there are images of animals, foliage, warriors on horses and other interesting structures. On the walls and roof of the temple beautiful erotic figures are carved. Infront of the temple there is natya mandir (dancing hall) where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun god. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn (happy and cheerful), at noon(Grim), and sunset(with a tired looking horse). Every day, the Sun’s rays would reach the Nata Mandir from the coast and reflects from the diamond placed at the center of the idol. The pillars have been aligned to ensure the sun rays pass through without an obstruction during the Uttarayana and the Dakshinayana ! This is another angle of alignment. The geometric perfection is amazing !
Beyond the Natya Mandir, stands the 128 feet high Jaganmohana, the Audience Hall or the front porch.
The Uniqueness of the Sun Temple at Konark lies in the fact that it was built using the concept of magnets. The peak of the temple was said to be a giant 52 ton magnet. A massive magnet was placed at the temple top and each two stones of the temple are inserting by iron plates. The statue of the Sun inside the temple was said to be floating free in air based on the unique arrangements of the main magnet and the reinforced magnets around the temple walls. Between every two stone pieces in the temple there lies an iron plate.
Sun temple of Konark is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture. The size of the temple is awe-inspiring ; the Original structure was over 220 feet in high. Konark is an exceptional mixture of marvelous temple architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty. It showcases planned execution and engineering brilliance of our ancestors. It was, or I may say is, the most beautiful temple ever built for the Sun God which got destroyed over time.
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