Derivation of the name Konark
Konark is also known as Konaditya. The name Konark derived from the words Kona - Corner and Arka - Sun is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. It is also known as Arkakshetra. The temple was built by King Narasimhadeva (1238-1264 AD) of Ganga Dynasty to celebrate his victory over the Muslims.
Location of Konark Sun Temple
The Sun Temple of Konark is situated in the eastern state of Odisha, located sixty-five kilometers away from Bhubaneswar and thirty-five kilometers away from Puri. It was one of the earliest centres for Sun worshipping.
God in Konark Sun Temple
This masterpiece architecture is dedicated to the Sun God or Surya.
Architecture of Konark Sun Temple
Konark Temple in Odisha is a colossal temple. It is constructed as an entire chariot consisting of seven horses and twenty-four wheels carrying the Sun God Lord Surya across the heaven. This temple is built as one of the most fine-looking temples of India and was referred to as the Black Pagoda. The ruins of the temple were excavated in the late 19th century. The tower over the Garbagriha is absent, however the Jagmohana is intact, and yet is awe-inspiring. The Konark temple is widely known for its brilliant architecture and intricate and enriched sculptural work. Each wheel is ten feet in diameter and has several spokes, on which extensive delicate sculptural works have been engraved. The spokes of the wheels serve as sundials as the shadows formed by them can give precise idea about the time of the day.
The pyramidal roof of the temple made of sandstone soars over thirty metres in height. Two ferocious lions guard the entrance, each crushing a war elephant, each in turn lying on a top of human body. A flight of steps leads to the main entrance. At the entrance of the temple there is 'Natamandir', where the temple dancers or 'Devdasis used to perform dance on deference to Sun god. The Natamandir is also intricately curved. There are three distinct sculpture of Sun God, which are intelligently positioned to catch the rays of sun at dawn, noon and sunset. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns carved. Konark Sun Temple is famous for its human, divine and semi-Divine figures in erotic poses like Khajuraho Temple. The sensuous poses of amorous couples are derived from Kama Sutra. There are also images of men, warriors on horses, animals and other patterns. The Sun Temple of Konark is now partly in ruin and the collection of its sculpture is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by Archaeological Survey of India. UNESCO declares the temple as World Heritage Site.
Legend of Konark Sun Temple
Legend has it that Samba, the father of Lord Krishna and Jambavati entered the bathing chamber of Krishna's wives, and was cursed by Krishna with leprosy. It was pronounced that he would be relieved of the curse by worshipping the sun God on the seacoast, north east of Puri. Consequently, Samba reached Konaditya Kshetra and discovered an image of Surya seated on the lotus, worshipped him and was relieved of his curse. It is said that the temple was not completed as conceived since the foundation was not sturdy enough to bear the weight of the heavy dome. Local belief has it that it was constructed in entirety, however its magnetic dome caused ships to crash near the seashore, and that the dome was detached and destroyed while the image of the Sun God was taken to Puri.
Festivals in Konark Sun Temple
The most popular and colourful festival of Konark, the Chandrabhaga festival an occasion for a splendid congregation of Indian pilgrims and enthusiasts from abroad, cascades on the seventh day of the new moon of Magha.