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| Last Updated:: 28/02/2018

Sun Temple, Konark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Konark, one of the well known tourist attractions of Orissa, houses a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificent temple reflecting the genius of the architects that envisioned and built it. 

 

 

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 twelve pairs of splendidly carved wheels and drawn by seven dynamic horses. According to one saying, these 12 pair of wheels symbolizes 24 hours in a day, while the other say, these wheels represent 12 months of the year. Seven days of the week are said to be the representation of seven horses. The wheels of this chariot have an interesting fact behind their formation. Each wheel has a set of eight spokes and these spokes serve as sundials. The shadows made by these sundials give exact time of the day.  

 

 

Till date, people come to visit this striking temple of splendid architecture that has gained popularity all over the Globe. 

 

 

 

Outstanding Universal Value 

 

 

 

The Sun Temple at Konark, located on the eastern shores of the Indian subcontinent, is one of the outstanding examples of temple architecture and art as revealed in its conception, scale and proportion, and in the sublime narrative strength of its sculptural embellishment. It is an outstanding testimony to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa and a monumental example of the personification of divinity, thus forming an invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya,the Sun God. In this sense, it is directly and materially linked to Brahmanism and tantric belief systems. The Sun Temple is the culmination of Kalingan temple architecture, with all its defining elements in complete and perfect form. A masterpiece of creative genius in both conception and realisation, the temple represents a chariot of the Sun God, with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses evoking its movement across the heavens. It is embellished with sophisticated and refined iconographical depictions of contemporary life and activities. On the north and south sides are 24 carved wheels, each about 3 m in diameter, as well as symbolic motifs referring to the cycle of the seasons and the months. These complete the illusionary structure of the temple-chariot. Between the wheels, the plinth of the temple is entirely decorated with reliefs of fantastic lions, musicians and dancers, and erotic groups. Like many Indian temples, the Sun Temple comprises several distinct and well-organized spatial units. The vimana (principal sanctuary) was surmounted by a high tower with a shikhara (crowning cap), which was razed in the 19th century.

 

 

To the east, the jahamogana (audience hall) dominates the ruins with its pyramidal mass. Farther to the east, the natmandir (dance hall), today unroofed, rises on a high platform. Various subsidiary structures are still to be found within the enclosed area of the rectangular wall, which is punctuated by gates and towers.The Sun Temple is an exceptional testimony, in physical form, to the 13th-century Hindu Kingdom of Orissa, under the reign of Narasimha Deva I (AD 1238-1264). Its scale, refinement and conception represent the strength and stability of the Ganga Empire as well as the value systems of the historic milieu. Its aesthetical and visually overwhelming sculptural narratives are today an invaluable window into the religious, political, social and secular life of the people of that period. The Sun Temple is directly associated with the idea and belief of the personification of the Sun God, which is adumbrated in the Vedas and classical texts. The Sun is personified as a divine being with a history, ancestry, family, wives and progeny, and as such, plays a very prominent role in the myths and legends of creation. Furthermore, it is associated with all the legends of its own artistic creation – the most evocative being its construction over twelve years using 1,200 artisans – and the stories about the deep commitment of its master builder, Bisu Moharana, to the project, in which his son (who was born during this period) later became involved. Konark’s location and name are important testimonies to all the above associations, and its architectural realisation is associated with the living traditions of Brahmanismand tantricpractices. 

 

 

 

Criterion (i): A unique artistic achievement, the temple has raised up those lovely legends which are affiliated everywhere with absolute works of art: its construction caused the mobilization of 1,200 workers for 12 years. The architect, Bisu Moharana, having left his birthplace to devote himself to his work, became the father of a son while he was away. This son, in his turn, became part of the workshop and after having constructed the cupola of the temple, which his father was unable to complete, immolated himself by jumping into space. 

 

 

Criterion (iii):  Konark is an outstanding testimony to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa. 

 

 

Criterion (vi):  Directly and materially linked to the Brahman beliefs, Konark is the invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originating in Kashmir during the 8th century, finally reached the shores of Eastern India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: 

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/246

http://www.templenet.com/Orissa/konark.html

http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-temples/konark-temple.html 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sun_temple_Konark.JPG