Konark Sun Temple
|Sun Temple, Konârak|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Criteria||i, iii, vi|
|Inscription||1984 (8th Session)|
Konark Sun Temple (Oriya: କୋଣାର୍କ ସୂର୍ଯ୍ୟ ମନ୍ଦିର [koɳarkə]; also Konârak) is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda),1 at Konark, in Odisha, India. It was supposedly built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250.2 It has been built in the shape of a gigantic chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.3 It is also featured on NDTV's list of Seven Wonders of India and Times of India's list of Seven Wonders of India.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Architecture
- 3 History
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The temple was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then. The temple has been built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of the Sun god, Surya. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels some of which are 3 meters3 wide and is pulled by seven pairs of horses.5 The temple follows the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. It is carefully oriented towards the east so that the first rays of sunrise strikes the principal entrance.3 The temple is built from Khondalite rocks.67
|“||Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man.||”|
The original temple had a main sanctum sanctorum (vimana), which was supposedly 229 feet5 (70 m) tall. Due to the weight of the super structure (70m tall) and weak soil of the area the main vimana fell in 1837.10 The audience hall (Jagamohana), which is about 128 feet (30 m) tall, still stands and is the principal structure in the surviving ruins. Among the structures, which have survived to the current day, are the dance hall (Nata mandira) and dining hall (Bhoga mandapa).35
Two smaller ruined temples have been discovered nearby. One of them is called the Mayadevi Temple and is located southwest from the entrance of the main temple. It is presumed to have been dedicated to Mayadevi, one of the Sun god's wives. It has been dated to the late 11th century, earlier than the main temple.12 The other one belongs to some unknown Vaishnava deity. Sculptures of Balarama, Varaha and Trivikrama have been found at the site, indicating it to be a Vaishnavite temple. Both temples have their primary idols missing.
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According to Bhavishya Purana and Samba Purana, there may have been a sun temple in the region earlier than current one, dating to the 9th century or earlier.14 The books mention three sun temples at Mundira (possibly Konark), Kalapriya (Mathura), and Multan.1516
According to the scriptures, Samba, the son of Krishna, was cursed with leprosy. He was advised by the sage, Kataka,17 to worship the sun god to cure his aliment. Samba underwent penance for 12 years in Mitravana near the shores of Chandrabhaga.18 Both the original Konark temple and the Multan temple19 have been attributed to Samba.
The current temple is attributed to Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. His reign spanned from 1238 to 1264 CE. The temple may have been a monument to his victory against Tughral Tughan Khan.1822
According to local folklore, Narasimhadeva I had hired a chief architect called Bisu Maharana to build the temple. After a period of twelve years, a workforce of twelve thousand almost finished the construction. But, they failed to mount the crown stone. The impatient king ordered the temple to be finished in three days or the artisans be put to death. At the time, Bisu Maharana's twelve year old son, Dharmapada arrived at the site. Bisu Maharana had never seen his son, as he had left his village when his wife was still pregnant. Dharmapada successfully proposed a solution to mount the crown stone. But, the artisans were still apprehensive that the king will be displeased to learn that a boy succeeded where his best artisans failed. Dharmapada climbed onto the temple and leapt into the water to save his father and his co-workers.
There have been several proposed theories for the collapse of the main sanctum. The date of the collapse is also not certain.
The Kenduli copper plates of Narasimha IV (Saka 1305 or 1384 CE) states the temple to be in a perfect state.23
James Fergusson (1808–1886) had the opinion that marshy foundation had caused the collapse.23 But, the structure has shown no sign of sinking into its foundation.24 Fergusson, who visited the temple in 1837, recorded a corner of the main sanctum still standing.23 It also fell down in 1848 due to a strong gale.21
In 1929, an analysis of a moss covered rock estimated the date of abandonment at around 1573.23
Other proposed causes include lighting and earthquake.23
In the last quarter of the 18th century, when worship had ceased in the temple, the Aruna stambha (Aruna pillar) was removed from the entrance of Konark temple and placed at the Singha-dwara (Lion's Gate) of the Jagannath temple in Puri by a Maratha Brahmachari called Goswain (or Goswami).2627 The pillar is made of monolithic chlorite and is 33 feet 8 inches (10.26 m) tall . It is dedicated to Aruna, the charioteer of the Sun god.27
In 1803, requests were made for conservations by the East India Marine Board, but only removal of stones from the site was prohibited by the Governor General. As a result, a part of the main tower, which was still standing, collapsed in 1848.28
The then Raja of Khurda removed some stones and sculptures to use in a temple he was building in Puri. A few gateways and some sculptures were destroyed in the process.29 In 1838, after the depredation of the Raja of Khurda, Asiatic Society of Bengal requested conservation, but the requests were denied and only preventative of human-caused damages were guaranteed.28 The Raja was forbidden to remove any more stones.
In 1894, thirteen sculptures were moved to the Indian Museum.28
In 1903 when a major excavation was attempted nearby, the then Lieutenant governor of Bengal, J. A. Baurdilon, ordered the temple to be sealed and filled with sand to prevent the collapse of the Jagamohana.2330
In 1909, the Mayadevi temple was discovered while removing sand and debris.28
A sculpture taken from the site at the British Museum
- History of Odisha
- Kalinga Architecture
- Surya, the Hindu Sun god
- Solar deity
- Konark, the town where this site is located
- Konark Dance Festival, an annual event held at this site
- "Official website". Tourism Department, Government of Orissa. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- Indian History. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-07-132923-1. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- "Sun Temple, Konârak". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- Lewis Sydney Steward O'Malley (1 January 2007). Bengal District Gazetteer : Puri. Concept Publishing Company. p. 283. ISBN 978-81-7268-138-8. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- "Official website: The Sun Temple". Tourism Department, Government of Orissa. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- N. Chenna Kesavulu (1 February 2009). Textbook of Engineering Geology. Macmillan Publishers India Limited. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-230-63870-9. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- P. C. Varghese (November 2012). Engineering Geology for Civil Engineers. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. p. 126. ISBN 978-81-203-4495-2. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Manish Telikic Chary (2 February 2009). India: Nation on the Move: An Overview of India's People, Culture, History, Economy, IT Industry, & More. iUniverse. p. 389. ISBN 978-1-4401-1635-3. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Somen Sengupta (22 September 2012). "Poetry in stone". Daily Pioneer. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Description from British Library archives, accessed 30April2014
- "Konarak Sun Temple: Mithuna Sculptures". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "World Heritage Sites: Konarak Sun Temple". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Archaeological Museum, Konarak". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Linda Kay Davidson; David Martin Gitlitz (1 January 2002). Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland : an Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-57607-004-8. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- John M. Rosenfield (1 January 1967). The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans. [Mit Faks.]. University of California Press. p. 195. GGKEY:0379L32LPNJ. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- N. K. Singh (2009). Coronation Of Shiva: Rediscovering Masrur Temple. Har-Anand Publications Pvt. Limited. p. 18p. ISBN 978-81-241-1478-0. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- K.S. Krishna Rao (2008). Global Encyclopaedia of the Brahmana Ethnography. Global Vision Publishing House. p. 452. ISBN 978-81-8220-208-5. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- "Official website: The Sun Temple Legend". Tourism Department, Government of Orissa. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Sir Alexander Cunningham (1871). The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang. Trübner & Company. p. 233. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Helaine Selin (16 April 2008). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer. pp. 1731–. ISBN 978-1-4020-4559-2. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "Konark Sun Temple: Introduction". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- David H. Kelley; Eugene F. Milone (16 February 2011). Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy. Springer. p. 285. ISBN 978-1-4419-7624-6. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- "Konarak, Conservation". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Dr. Benudhar Patra (April 2006). "Antiquity of Arkakshetra Konark". Orissa Review (Government of Odisha). Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- L.S.S. O'malley (1 January 2007). Bengal District Gazetteer : Puri. Concept Publishing Company. p. 47. ISBN 978-81-7268-138-8. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Narayan Miśra (1 January 2007). Annals and Antiquities of the Temple of Jagannātha. Sarup & Sons. p. 19. ISBN 978-81-7625-747-3. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- Prajna Paramita Behera (June 2004). "The Pillars of Homage toLord Jagannatha". Orissa Review (Government of Odisha). Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "Konark Conservation". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- N. S. Ramaswami (1 December 1971). Indian Monuments. Abhinav Publications. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-89684-091-1. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Sandeep Mishra (10 July 2010). "The Sun Temple of Orissa". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Surya: The God and His Abode, Parijat, 2010, ISBN 81-903561-7-8
- "Konarak- The Heritage of Mankind (Set of 2)", by Karuna Sagar Behera, 1996, ISBN 978-81-7305-076-3
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sun Temple, Konârak.|
- Konark Sun Temple (Official Website), Tourism Department, Government of Odisha
- Konark Sun Temple, World Heritage Site, UNESCO
- Konark Sun Temple, Archaeological Survey of India
- Odisha tourism portal
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