Sunday, May Sun, 2024

Konark Temple Sculptures attract world tourists to Odisha

Konark Temple Sculptures



The Konark Sun Temple, nestled in the heart of Odisha, India, stands as a timeless testament to the country's rich cultural heritage and architectural brilliance. 


This UNESCO World Heritage Site has gained international acclaim, drawing tourists from every corner of the globe to witness its awe-inspiring sculptures and unravel the mysteries of ancient Indian artistry.


Historical Background:


Built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, the Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. 


The temple's name, "Konark," is derived from two Sanskrit words: 'Kona,' meaning corner, and 'Arka,' meaning the sun. 


The strategic positioning of the temple is designed to align with the rising and setting sun, embodying the divine connection between architecture and astronomy.


Architectural Marvels: 



The temple is made of stone and it has a chariot-shaped structure. The Konark temple has three main parts –the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), the Natamandapa (hall of dance), and the Jagamohan (hall of worship). The Konark temple is one of the largest temples in India. The Konark sun temple area spreads about 16 acres of land. 


The temple is designed in the shape of a chariot, with 12 wheels and seven horses. The wheels are decorated with images of the sun and moon, and the horses represent the seven days of the week.


The Konark temple also has numerous carvings and a square mandapa is overlain by a sapta ratha in architecture. The sanctum of this Surya temple features a Nataraj. The other interior includes a damaged Surya holding and a lotus, along with Agni, Varuna, Vishnu, and Vayu. 


The Konark Sun Temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture, reflecting the ingenuity of ancient Indian builders. 


The main temple, shaped like a colossal chariot, is adorned with intricate carvings depicting scenes from everyday life, mythological tales, and celestial beings. The twelve pairs of elaborately carved wheels surrounding the temple symbolise the chariot of the Sun God.


The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha holds profound cultural and historical significance, embodying the zenith of Kalinga architecture.


Built in the 13th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, showcases intricate sculptures that narrate mythological tales and depict the vibrant socio-cultural milieu of medieval India.


 Its unique chariot-shaped structure, aligned with solar cycles, reflects an ancient understanding of astronomy and divine symbolism. 


Beyond its architectural marvels, the temple serves as a global tourist magnet, drawing visitors to witness its timeless beauty, contributing to Odisha's rich heritage and fostering appreciation for India's cultural legacy.


Why is Konark Temple called as Black Pagoda?

The moniker "Black Pagoda" for the Konark Sun Temple stems from its dark colour due to oxidised and weathered ferruginous sandstone. 

Over centuries, the stone has acquired a distinct blackish hue, contrasting with the nearby Puri Jagannath Temple, referred to as the "White Pagoda." 

This nomenclature emphasizes the striking visual contrast between the two iconic temples and highlights the unique colouration of the Konark Sun Temple, adding an intriguing layer to its identity and attracting the curiosity of visitors who are eager to explore its ancient, blackened grandeur.


The Sculptures of Konark Wheel: - 



The Konark temple was fashioned in the style of a massive chariot 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 border spokes and 8thinner spokes on each wheel.


 The six wheels on each side of the main temple, four sides of the Mukhasala and two wheels on each side of the eastern front stairs. we can see the beautiful sculptures of the Konark wheel. 


Surya Temple Konark: -SUN GOD STATUE: -


On the three sides of the temple, there are three big and wonderful carved idols of the Sun deity. These are the portrayals of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva, three forms of existence. 


The pravhata Surya is shown in the first Sun God sculptures on the southern side wall, 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 its name is “Pravhata Surya”.


On the western side, the second figure of the Sun God known as “ Pusan” is known as  Madhyana Surya(Midday Sun) standing in full force and essence. 


Lord Shiva was honoured in this way at the Konark temple. The Astachala Surya is the third figure of the Sun God on the northern sidewall, known as “Haritasva” Evening sun Setting Sun”.


Top 10 Interesting Facts about Konark Temple of Odisha


1. Architectural Marvel:-

The Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture, showcasing exceptional craftsmanship and engineering ingenuity.

2. Chariot Design:-

The temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot, with 24 intricately carved wheels representing the chariot of the Sun God, Surya. The wheels also serve as sundials.

3. Symbolism in Architecture:-

The temple is strategically positioned to align with the east-west movement of the sun. The main entrance of the temple faces east, capturing the first rays of the rising sun.

4. Erotic Sculpture: -

Among its sculptures, the temple is famous for its explicit erotic carvings. These depict various aspects of human life, embracing both the sacred and the sensual.

5. Seven Horses:-

The temple is often associated with the seven horses that are believed to draw the chariot of the Sun God. These horses symbolize the days of the week.

6. Nativity Scene:-

The Nativity scene, depicting the birth of Krishna, is intricately carved on the walls of the temple, showcasing the diverse range of themes from Hindu mythology.

7. Dance Festival:-

Konark hosts an annual dance festival in December, attracting renowned classical dancers who perform against the backdrop of the illuminated temple, celebrating India's rich cultural heritage.

8. UNESCO Recognition:-

The Konark Sun Temple gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984, recognizing its outstanding universal value and cultural significance.


9. Preservation Challenges:-

The temple faces preservation challenges due to environmental factors and weathering. Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect this historical monument.

10. Inspiration for Art and Culture:-

The Konark Sun Temple has inspired numerous artists, poets, and writers throughout history, contributing to the rich tapestry of Indian art and literature.