Konark Sun temple: a must-visit site in India

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Mon Nov 14, 2022

The Konark Sun Temple is a sun temple that dates back to the 13th century, and is located at Konark, which is 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Puri city on the coast of Odisha, India.

King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty is credited with building the temple in 1250 CE. The left of the temple complex, which is devoted to the Hindu sun God Surya, resembles a 100-foot (30-meter) high chariot with enormous wheels and horses that are all made of stone. A substantial portion of the temple, once over 200 feet (61 meters) high, is now in ruins, especially the huge shikara tower over the sanctuary, which once climbed far higher than the mandapa that still exists. The buildings and components that have endured are renowned for their elaborate iconography, motifs, and artwork, which includes sensual kama and mithuna scenarios. It is also known as the Surya Devalaya and is a well-known example of Kalinga or Odisha architecture.

As early as 1676, European sailors described this temple as the black pagoda, because it resembled a massive, black-looking tiered structure. In the bay of Bengal, these temples acted as significant landmarks for mariners. The conservation efforts of archaeological teams working in British India during that time helped to partially rebuild the temple as it is now. Hindus continue to flock to this important Hindu pilgrimage site every year during the Chandrabhaga Mela, which takes place in or around the month of February. It was designated a UNESCO world historic site in 1984. The Konark Sun Temple is pictured on the back of the 10 rupee Indian currency note to emphasize how important it is in Indian cultural heritage.

The Konark Sun Temple's chariot wheel was built and constructed in such a way that it can tell the time. The wheel has a total of eight spokes. Every spoke corresponds to a pahar (three hours). Twentyfour hours are represented by eight spokes. The shadow of the spokes depicts the time when sun rays fall on it and the temple is also termed as a natural method to calculate time in early times. You'll notice that the temple's chariot-like shape gives the impression that the sun is emerging from the depths of the deep blue sea when you see it from the outside at dawn or daybreak. Chlorite, laterite, and khondalite are the three types of stones that were used to construct the Konark Sun Temple. The chariot has a total of twelve pairs of wheels. The Hindu calendar's twelve months are defined by these twelve pairs of wheels. Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha, and Pankti are the names of the seven chariot horses. These horses bear names derived from the Sanskrit prosody's seven meters. 

This place is combination of historic development with examples of ancient design. If any of you happen to come to Odisha, I highly recommend adding this temple to your list of must-visit places.

 

References:

1. Wikipedia contributors. (2022, November 7). Konark Sun Temple. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konark_Sun_Temple

2. https://www.travelpraise.com/konark-sun-temple-facts/

 

 

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2022 - Fall - Issue 9
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