The Sun Temple of Konark

Posted by Freddy on Mar-20-2011

India is blessed with number of world heritage monuments showcasing the breathtaking architecture and intricate work. The monuments of India are living testimony which pull us back to that particular era and helps us in exploring the history of India. One such monument in India is the Konark Sun Temple.

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple, at Konark, in Orissa. It was constructed from oxidizing and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1236-1264 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site. According to local legend, the temple has a great aura of power that comes from two very powerful magnets said to have been built into the tower – magnets that allowed the king’s throne to hover in mid-air.

The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance.

Every inch of the temple is covered with sculpture of an unsurpassed beauty and grace, in tableaux and freestanding pieces ranging from the monumental to the miniature. The subject matter is fascinating. Thousands of images include deities, celestial and human musicians, dancers, lovers, and myriad scenes of courtly life, ranging from hunts and military battles to the pleasures of courtly relaxation. These are interspersed with birds, animals, mythological creatures, and a wealth of intricate botanical and geometrical decorative designs. The famous jewel-like quality of Odishan art is evident throughout, as is a very human perspective which makes the sculpture extremely accessible.

The nata mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset. Its fine traceries and scrollwork, as well as the beautiful and natural cut of animal and human figures, give it superiority over other temples.

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