Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India Revealed!

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India Revealed!

Welcome to the enthralling world of Konark Sun Temple, an architectural marvel and tribute to India’s rich cultural legacy. This famous temple, which is tucked away in the gorgeous state of Odisha, is a representation of both architectural skill and devotion. Come along with us as we set out to solve the riddles surrounding this astounding feat of ancient India.

Unlocking the Majesty: Exploring the Architectural Splendor of the Sun Temple of Konark

The Sun Temple of Konark, has stood proudly since the 13th century on the banks of the Bay of Bengal in the state of Odisha. However, the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the temple is the price. The real fun is understanding the sun temple with a bit of an educated eye. Therefore, instead of coming to Konark, taking pictures, and leaving in a hurry, one tries to understand the greatness of the temple, and if one properly observes and enjoys its beauty spots, then the visit to the temple can be considered a success. Here, an attempt has been made to cover as many aspects as possible regarding the Konark Sun Temple architecture.

Konark: Exploring the Origins and Global Significance of Sun Worship

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

The name ‘Konark’ is a combination of two words. In Sanskrit, ‘kon’ means angle and ‘arka’ means sun. Meaning ‘corner of the sun’, this place is one of the ancient places of sun worship in India. The tradition of worshiping the sun as a god as a constant source of heat and energy is found in many cultures around the world, besides Hinduism. The sun was worshiped by the people of ancient Egypt in the frescoes of the pyramids. While the Greeks worshiped the sun as Helios, the Aztec culture of South America also held the sun as a divine figure. The god sun carvings are found on the walls of many ancient temples in southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia.

Divine Symbolism: The Mythos Behind the Sun God and the Konark Temple

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

Indian culture has worshiped the sun since the Vedic period, and God Sun has one hundred and eight names like Arun, Aditya, Arak, Bhanu, Diwakar, Savitri, Ravi, Martand, Pushan, and Vivaswan. According to Hindu belief, every morning the god sun comes riding in his chariot. The chariot is drawn by seven white horses. Lord Varuna holds the reins of the seven horses named Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnik, Jagati, Trishtup, Anushtup, and Pankti. Keeping this imagery in mind, the temple of Konark was built in the 13th century in the shape of the sun god’s chariot. Seven horses were also carved in front of the chariot.

 

Myth and Legend: Unraveling the Story Behind the Sun Temple of Konark

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

Almost all the ancient shrines in the world have some sort of myth attached to them. The mythology associated with the Sun Temple of Konark is also interesting. According to the story, the temple was built by Lord Krishna‘s son, Samb. Once Narad Muni came to meet Lord Krishna, Krishna’s son Samba disrespected Naradji. Enraged, Naradji cursed Samb. As a result, Samba contracted leprosy. When Samba was confused about what to do to get rid of this disease, Rishi Katak told him to worship the sun. For twelve years in a row, Sambe did severe penance in the Maitreyi forest. Finally, the sun god appeared before him and ended Samb’s affliction.

The next day, Samb was bathing in the river Chandrabhaga when something touched his hand in the water of the river. Samba took hold of the object and took it out to see that it was an idol of the sun god mounted on a lotus, holding lotuses in both his hands. Over time, this idol was installed in the Sun temple built by Samb.

After knowing about the mythology behind the Konark temple, it becomes necessary to know the details of its actual construction.

Konark Sun Temple Construction and Architecture

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

In our country, there are two main branches of the ‘Gang’ lineage, namely East and West. The approximate period of the eastern branch of these is from the eleventh century to the first half of the fifteenth century. The construction of the Sun Temple at Konark was undertaken by King Narasimhadeva I during his reign. He came up with the idea of building a temple to commemorate his victory over the Muslim invaders in Bengal. The beauty of the sunrise at the beach of Konark, along with the roar of the sea, used to fascinate King Narasimhadev right from his childhood. Hence, the king chose Konark to commemorate his victory celebration with his devotion to the sun and his fondness for the place. It is said that under the guidance of a master sculptor named Bisu Mohra, 1,200 sculptors worked together day and night for 12 consecutive years, and the Sun Temple was completed in the 13th century.

There are mainly three styles found in Indian temples.

(1) Nagar, also called Northen style.

(2) Dravidian, called the Southern style.

(3) Vasar, which is a mixed style.

All three have sub types. The Sun Temple at Konark features the Kalinga style of architecture, a sub type of the Nagar style. Kalinga style temples have ‘Deula’ and ‘Jagmohan’ as the main parts. ‘Deul’ or ‘Deula’ means sanctum, and ‘Jagmohan’ means hall. Most of the temples in Odisha are built in the Kalinga style.

Sun Temple of Konark: Exploring the Divine Architecture and Symbolism

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

The Surya Mandir of Konark is designed in the shape of the Sun Lord’s chariot. The area of the temple is 865 feet by 540 feet, and its main entrance is towards the east. Hence, before sunrise, the rays used to fall on the diamond placed in the idol in the center of the sanctum and reflect from there. The chariot-shaped temple has twelve wheels facing north and south. On the front were sculptures of seven horses, of which only one has survived. The horses are indicative of the seven days of the week, while the twelve wheels indicate the twelve months. Each wheel is tens of feet in diameter, with eight spokes carved into it. These spokes are indicative of the eight prahars

Timeless Marvels: Sundials and Sculptures of the Sun Temple at Konark

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

The wheels act as sundials when sunlight falls on them during the day. This means that time can be measured by the shadow of a spoke. A number of sculptures can be seen on the upper and lower parts of the wheels, including hunting scenes, marching armies, herds of elephants, etc. The figure of a giraffe carved on the southern platform of the temple (side photo) may be surprising, but it makes it clear that Konark had trade relations with Africa in the thirteenth century.

On both sides of the entrance of the temple, there is a special sculpture, in which an elephant is sitting on a reclining human figure and a lion is jumping on the elephant. A lion is much bigger than an elephant. These are very suggestive symbols. The figure of a lion is indicative of ego, while the figure of an elephant is that of wealth. Meaning, if ego and wealth are combined, it can destroy a good person.

Placed on either side of the entry steps, these sculptures teach the lesson of being humble even in the face of prosperity. As you climb up the steps, the temple’s cone-shaped peak is visible. Three hundred meters (about 100 feet) high, many sculptures are carved on this peak. These sculptures depict everyday activities.Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

At the base of the Sun Temple are statues of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Shakti. Apart from this, the activities of the royal court are also depicted here with carvings. Animals like snakes, giraffes, and elephants are found carved in stone. Musicians, dancers, and ‘Bhogshilps’ are carved on the walls here. Narasimhadeva is said to have prepared Bhogshilps for the soldiers of King Narasimhadev to get inspiration from re-population, to produce brave children like them, and for the children to join the army of the state.

Exploring the Magnificent Halls of the Sun Temple at Konark

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

To the east of the Sun Temple is a hall known as ‘Jagmohan’. Adorned with many sculptures, the ceiling of the room is arranged in three tiers, where the colossal sculptures of women and the two crown princes are very impressive. Further east is the dance hall known as ‘Natmandir’. The main sanctum of the temple was a tall structure with a crown-like ‘Shikhar’, which was demolished in the 19th century. The spire, which weighs about fifty-two tons, was built with stones believed by the artisans of the time to contain iron particles. In order to keep the masonry in one piece, they installed a huge iron magnet in the ‘Jagmohan’ hall of the temple.

This main magnet and other magnets around it were arranged in such a manner that the main statue floats in the air. But this uniqueness is believed to have caused the peak’s downfall. According to this tradition, the iron magnet of the temple caused the ships passing near the coast of Konark to lose their ‘direction’. As a result, Portuguese sailors are said to have removed the magnet from the Konark temple. The ferromagnetic that ‘holds’ the iron-containing stones was removed. Therefore, the balance of the stones and iron pillars resting on it was disturbed, which eventually led to the collapse of the peak. According to another assumption, this magnet was removed by the British, and in 1906, it was sent to Britain as a specimen of wonder.

Restoration of Dilapidated Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!
On the walls of Konark’s Sun Temple are carved 1,700 sculptures of elephants, all but tiny in size. Each pose is completely different from the other! A total of 128 dance postures are found in the sculptures of dancers.

Built in the 13th century, this wonderful temple has been dilapidated with the passage of time. Rain, wind, and moist sea breezes have slowly eroded the stones of the temple. Surya Mandir has also been a victim of invasion in the past. Is. In 1508, many Hindu temples in Odisha were destroyed during the invasion of Sultan Suleiman Karrani of Bengal. The Sun Temple of Konark also had its turn in this attack.

Some experts believe that earthquakes and lightning also damaged the temple. However, no facts are known to support that belief. The foundation stones of the temple do not appear to have suffered any damage. Moreover, the twenty- to twenty-five-foot-thick walls of the temple also do not show the effects of the said earthquake. Whatever the real reason behind the damage to the Sun Temple, the obvious fact is that the grand architecture of the 13th century is now in a dilapidated condition. However, its past glory can be estimated. Currently, the temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Most of the foundation of the Sun Temple was buried under a layer of sand for years. When the sand was moved in 1904, the magnificence of the sun temple was visible. Due to the temple’s giant wheels carved on the walls and the sculptures of horses on the front, it was known that the entire architecture had been conceived in the shape of a chariot. In the following years, the temple was renovated, and in 1984, this place was included in the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site‘. Konark’s Sun Temple came on the global tourist map, and many tourists from the country and abroad started coming to see it. Today, thousands of people visit the Konark temple and marvel at the 13th century architecture. In the evening, the temple is illuminated with flood lights. The dim chattering of sea winds, the roar of the sea, and the shadow cast by the flood lights make the temple a memorable experience for the visitor.

Places to visit besides Sun Temple

the buddhist stupas of sanchi

The main attraction at Konark is the Sun Temple, but some of the temple’s sculptures are preserved in the Archaeological Department’s museum outside the premises. These sculptures include colossal statues of Sun God, a reconstructed chariot wheel, and sculptures of Varaha, Trivikram, and Narasimha. Apart from this, stone panels depicting animals, birds, plants, and musicians are also preserved here. The works remain a spectacle due to their artistry and finesse, along with their enormous size. A ticket is required to enter this museum.

At a distance of three kilometers from Konark town, Chandrabhaga Beach is a privilege to watch the sunrise. Of course, the sea here is not safe for bathing as it is rough. A distant view can be enjoyed by climbing the lighthouse on the shore. The lighthouse opens only at dusk.Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

Apart from Surya temples, Vaishnava, Pancharatha, and Mayadevi temples are also located here. The Vaishnava temple was ‘found’ in 1956 by removing the sand. The small brick temple faces east. It is situated in the south-western (south-west) corner of the Sun Temple. The Pancharatha temple is believed to have been built as early as the eleventh century. The idols of Lord Balarama, Lord Varaha, and Trivikram in this temple are now housed in the museum of the Department of Archeology at Konark. The temple of Sun Queen Mayadevi was also built in the eleventh century, meaning before the Sun Temple.

The temples of Konark are worth seeing as well as understanding. Instead of just glimpsing them with a local knowledgeable guide, one can better appreciate the various beauties of the temples and read the esoteric information carved into the stones.

Good To Know for a Perfect Trip……

Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

When to Go:

  • October is the best time to travel to Konark.
  • Hotels are limited for staying in Konark, but it’s worth staying for a night to enjoy relaxation and the sunrise.
  • A ‘Bhath Saptami Mela‘, known as ‘Chandrabhaga Mela’, is held during Magh Purnima  (January-February), drawing thousands of devotees.
  • The annual ‘Konark Dance Festival’ usually takes place in February, showcasing various dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kathak, and Odissi.

How to Go:Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India!

  • Konark is located about 15 km from the capital, Bhubaneswar, and 35 km from Puri.
  • Bhubaneswar is well-connected by train, air, and road to major cities.
  • Trains from Gujarat-Maharashtra to Puri are available.
  • The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar.

Where to Stop:

Plus Know:

  • Konark is a hub for craft enthusiasts, especially known for ‘appliqué work’ on cloth.
  • Odisha’s rasgulla, different from Bengali rasgulla, is famous.
  • Puri pilgrimage offers various dishes related to offerings made to Lord Jagannath, including malpua and rasgulla.

Conclusion: Embracing the Legacy

As we conclude our journey through the enigmatic history of Konark Sun Temple, we are reminded of its enduring legacy and cultural significance. From its majestic architecture to its mystical legends, the temple continues to captivate and inspire all who venture to behold its splendor.


Click Here For:

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway History: Discovering the Soul of the Himalayas!

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway History: Discovering the Soul of the Himalayas!

 

5/5 - (1 vote)

1 thought on “Konark Sun Temple Architecture: A Masterpiece of Ancient India Revealed!”

  1. Exceptionally written and the blogger really knows how to captivate and make the viewers know in depth knowledge about places

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Translate »
Discover the Hidden Treasures of Kanyakumari: A Journey Through History and Beauty! Discover McLeodganj: A Tibetan Haven Amidst the Himalayas! 10 Crucial Key Points about Jibhi and Tirthan Valley! Nandi Slopes Adventure: 10 Key Points Unveiled! Conquer the Himalayan Heights: Pangarchulla Trek Adventure Unwind in Nature: Best Camping Spots near Mumbai in 2024! Exploring the Serene Beauty of Dharamshala: A Journey Through Nature’s Embrace! Indian Premier League 2024: Rajasthan Royals, List of all Players . Indian Premier League 2024: Mumbai Indians Full Team Top 10 Most Expensive Players in Indian Premier League 2024 Auction Chennai Super Kings: All Players list in IPL 2024 Indian Premier League 2024: All Teams and Captains Unveiling the Mysteries of Dalhousie: 15 Hidden Gems You Didn’t Know About! Unakoti: Exploring the Enigmatic Lost Civilization of India! Discover Singapore: 10 Incredible Places to visit in Singapore! Unveiling Singapore: 15 Hidden Gems You Must Explore! Pachmarhi: 15 Hidden Gems That Will Leave You Breathless! Unveiling the Enchantment: 15 Hidden Wonders of Rameshwaram in 2024 Unveiling Ganpatipule: 15 Undiscovered Treasures That Will Astound You Whispers of Banaras: Unveiling 15 Hidden Gems Amidst Sacred Threads
Discover the Hidden Treasures of Kanyakumari: A Journey Through History and Beauty! Discover McLeodganj: A Tibetan Haven Amidst the Himalayas! 10 Crucial Key Points about Jibhi and Tirthan Valley! Nandi Slopes Adventure: 10 Key Points Unveiled! Conquer the Himalayan Heights: Pangarchulla Trek Adventure Unwind in Nature: Best Camping Spots near Mumbai in 2024! Exploring the Serene Beauty of Dharamshala: A Journey Through Nature’s Embrace! Indian Premier League 2024: Rajasthan Royals, List of all Players . Indian Premier League 2024: Mumbai Indians Full Team Top 10 Most Expensive Players in Indian Premier League 2024 Auction