Stories and legends arouse curiosity and desire to learn more, as well as a wish to travel back in time to understand more about what truly occurred. This is quite genuine and natural for any traveler who wishes to learn facts and accomplish something that has never been done before. This isn’t always the case; in certain cases, sharing information in a perfect and intelligible manner is a remarkable approach to communicate. The Konark Sun Temple is one of those folklores that amaze and fascinates many people. Its architecture, magnificent stone carvings, and engaging building narrative all combines to make it an interesting topic to research.
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Konark Sun Temple Architecture
Until the early nineteenth century, most of the architectural figures that made the temple famous were entirely buried beneath the rubble and sands. Because the proximity of these exquisite lions, wheels, horses, elephants, and the Sun God’s simhasana (throne) was unexplained to the general public, visitors who visited in these days could not even appreciate the extent of its glory.
The temple that Narasimhadeva sought was erected in the shape of a massive Ratha (chariot), with twelve pairs of wheels artistically formed out in the northern and southern fronts of the plinth artifact and driven by a team of seven energetic horses flying through the heavens.
Konark Sun temple stands out by the fact of being an example of the best architecture of the olden days. The craftsmanship and intricate carvings show the talent perceived by the artisans. The temple is divided into 3 major parts:
- Vimana (main temple) intended for housing the deity.
- Jagamohana (hall in front of vimana) from where the worshippers could have a glimpse of the deity.
- A Nirtya-mandapa (dancing hall).
But a separate Bhoga-mandapa (offering hall) was not built at this place. Dancing and offers were most likely done in the same spot. This sort of temple is known as Pancha Ratha Dekha Deul in Odissan architecture because each of its façades is divided by five tiny rims to generate an illusion of light and shadow on the surface as well the presence of a single connected verticle line, called Rekha.
Don’t miss this read: Stone Carving in Odisha – A Sensitive Diversity!
Konark Temple Story
Since his childhood, Narasimhadeva has been enchanted by the splendor of the sunrise and the thundering sound of the sea. The river Chandrabhaga, which is now dry, used to run within a mile of the temple site and eventually joined the sea. There were thriving towns and key commerce centers on its banks. Foreign trade was also conducted by maritime ways, as there were no other means of connection besides the river at the time. The temple was built around the 13th century as per his wish. He dedicated 12000 artisans for the work, and the construction took 12 years to complete. He hand-picked the greatest craftspeople to bring his vision to life. Construction began with Sibei Samantray Mahapatra as the project manager and Bishu Maharana as the lead architect.
The building location was not the optimum spot to begin work since the earth was not hard enough to support the temple. For the principal architects, this was a big worry. There was no other option because the task was given by the monarch. They had to complete the task within the specified time frame.
The work had begun, and the structure was beginning to take shape. The intricate carvings and designs on the stone were not only meticulously detailed but also a blend of art and science.
Each stone was put on a magnet plate while keeping in mind the placement of a large Surya God statue in the temple’s center, according to legend. At the summit of the temple lies a lodestone that is supposed to be a giant 52-ton magnet. According to history, due to the unique configurations of the top magnet, the bottom magnet, and the strengthened magnets around the temple walls, the statue of the Sun God within the temple was believed to be floating in the air, without any physical support. The temple not only has exquisite artwork on the walls, but it also has unique art masterpieces from many decades.
After 12 years of intense work, the time had finally come to install the kalasa, the primary top head part. Bishu Maharana, the principal architect, was having problems at this time. After several experiments, he was unable to discover a solution to the problem. Meanwhile, the chief architect’s son, ‘Dharmapada,’ came to meet his father after a lengthy absence. Dharmapada was born a month after his father moved out for the construction, and it had been twelve years. On his 12th birthday, he requested his mother to see his father, which his mother consented to, and the son set off on his journey to his father’s construction site.
It didn’t take long for him to arrive at the location and recognize his father. Bishu was overjoyed and delighted after finally meeting his son after such a long time. But he was also unhappy because they had already gotten orders from the king to complete the work as soon as possible, or he would detach the karigars’ heads from their bodies. Listening to all of this, Dharmapada, who has been studying architecture since childhood, leaps to his feet to inspect the installation problem. He and his father returned to the spot and explored the entire situation together. The problem was quickly identified and corrected by the child. Karigars followed his directions and completed the work on time.
The work was completed, but the artisans continued to doubt their fortune, knowing that if the king learned of it, he would definitely believe that the crafters were not doing their jobs correctly, as a small boy had done it in such a short time. Dharmapada had no desire for glory, fame, or renown as a result of his accomplishments. He was ecstatic that completing the temple for Sun God had saved so many lives. Dharmapada was taken aback and, in order to conceal the situation, he climbed the temple canopy and leaped off into the deep blue seas of the sea, laying down his life.
A young lad sacrificed his life to save the lives of others after achieving ultimate glory by completing the biggest temple ever built.
Konark Sun Temple Sculpture
At its foundation, the temple was fashioned in the style of a massive chariot drawn by seven great spirited horses on 12 pairs (for a total of 24 wheels). The wheel is 9 feet 9 inches in diameter, with 8 broader spokes and 8 thinner spokes on each wheel. Six wheels are on each side of the main temple, four wheels on each side of the Mukhasala, and two wheels on each side of the eastern front stairs.
Sun Temple Konark Seven Horses
The Sun God, according to Hindu mythology, rides through the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses. Konark temple is modeled after the Sun God’s heavenly chariot, which has twelve pairs of ornamented wheels and is dragged by seven galloping horses. There are four horses on the right side and three on the left. This is because the amount of horses on each side differs, one side goes faster than the other, the Sun Temple, like a chariot, moves in a circular motion, much like the Sun. The wheels and seven horses on the Konark temple give it the appearance of a chariot.
Royal Guards of Konark Sun Temple – Gaja Simha
On opposite sides of the dancing hall’s entrance are two massive stone sculptures of elephants and lions. They are said to be the Konark temple’s royal guard. Each sculpture depicts three symbols: a man, an elephant, and a lion. The man is at the bottom of the sculpture, the elephant is on top of him, and the lion is above the elephant; it appears like the combined weight of the lion and elephant is overcoming the man. The elephant is associated with Goddess Lakshmi in Indian culture because it symbolizes riches and prosperity. Because the lion represents power or pride, it is always linked with Goddess Durga. The Gaja-Simha sculpture serves as a reminder to visitors that a man who is consumed by a desire for money and power cannot approach God. These cravings must be overcome in order to attain spiritual progress. As shown in the statue, it reminds us that what desire for power and wealth can do to a human being.
Surya Temple Konark : Sun God Statue
On the three sides of the temple, there are three big and wonderfully carved idols of the sun deity. These are the portrayals of Lord Bramha, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva’s three forms of existence. The Pravhata Surya is shown in the first Sun God sculpture on the Southern sidewall, titled ‘Mitra’ (Morning Sun or Rising Sun). The road is bathed in the morning rays of the Sun and is so influential for its expression of youth and activity, thus qualifying the name Pravhata Surya.
On the Western sidewall, the second figure of Sun God, known as ‘Punsan,’ is shown as the Madhyana Surya (Mid-day Sun), standing in full force and essence. This form has a ferocious appearance that befits the destroyer’s reputation. Lord Shiva is honored in this way.
The Astachala Surya is the third figure of the Sun God on the northern sidewall, known as ‘Haritasva’ (Evening Sun or Setting Sun). Lord Vishnu is linked to the figure, which is described as a preserver. The sculpture captures the worn face that comes from a long day’s effort, and despite the fact that all the other horses are completely fatigued, he is ending his journey by riding on the back of the final horse, which is likewise revealed to be stooping with its legs tucked.
Black Pagoda, Arka kshetra, and Padma kshetra are some of the other names for the Konark Sun Temple. UNESCO has designated this stunning masterpiece as a world-historic site. Lord Surya is honored throughout the whole structure. This is the greatest example of Kalinga architecture, which has not only demonstrated true brilliance but also enticed millions of people to come to see the beauty. Konark is a unique blend of magnificent temple architecture, history, an exotic seashore, and striking natural beauty.
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