Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India
Today we are going to write about one of the most renowned temples of Orissa, holding a rich history of our ancient India. Our place of today’s exploration is Konark sun temple. So we started our journey after completing our lunch and took a road trip for 35 km along the beach road of Chandrabagha. Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India
The Sun signifies “the symbol of belief” in the mind of crores of people throughout the world, whose view is merely the view of God in naked eyes. Since ancient ages, each and every culture worshipped the Sun as God. In India also each day starts with Surya Pranam i.e. worshipping the Sun who gifts us a fresh new beginning of our life.
In India, one of the finest temples dedicated to Lord Surya is the Konark Sun Temple. It was built on 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the town named Konark, located in the Puri district.
Konark Sun Temple was rewarded as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
A Visual Retreat of Konark Sun Temple, Orissa (Odisha) – Ideogram of Art & Culture
The Interesting Fact about Konark Sun Temple:
It was built up by the hard work of 1200 workers for long 12 years. This temple showcases the perfect combination of both scientific as well as architectural beauty.
After entering through the east side of the temple, the first thing came to our eyesight was the Lion Door. Lion Door at that time known as Singha Duar.
Behind the Singha duar is the dancing stage, Nrityo Mancha and later is Jagamohan. The first Ray of Sun falls on the head of Surya statue which is placed inside the Garba Griha.
On the three sides of the Temple, three gates are located.
One is the front door renowned as “Singha Duar”(Lion Door).
other two are “Hasti Duar” (Elephant door) and “Aśvaḥ Duar” (Horse door).
These 3 Doors signifies three different meaning — Power, Bravery and Money.
If you take an aerial view of the whole Temple from outside then it will give an amazing view. The whole Temple looks like a Chariot with 24 wheels which represent 24 hours a day featuring 3 sun gods.
Morning Sun god with a happy face, Noon Sun god and Evening Sun god with a sad face.
The wheels are also known as Sundial. Each wheel has 8 spokes which indicate each Prahar i.e. a spoke in every 3 hours and the bids along the edges specify every minute. If any person put a finger in the center of the wheel then the shadow on the bid helps to calculate the exact time.
The Chariot is driven by seven horses divided into four in one side and 3 on another side. The Surya God himself drives the Chariot, his place being inside the Garbha Griha.
We know you might think why not 6 horses or 8 Horses? And why the horses were divided in an odd way???
There are many theories behind these seven horses.
Some say it represents 7 days of a week just like 24 wheels represent 24 hours. But somehow it is not true at all because many civilizations had 8 days in a week as per documentation. Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India
We were also very eager to know why seven horses pull the chariot…Then one old tourist guide told us to look the color of the horses very minutely.
Then he explained the theory of VIBGYOR and those
Seven horses represent each color of the VIBGYOR.
This was amazing and made us spellbound as we all know this theory was discovered by Newton in the 16th century i.e. 400 years after the completion of the building of this Temple.
The horses are divided into 3 horses and 4 horses because it can provide the perfect balance to move the chariot in a circular dimension.
The Art on the Walls of the Temple:
The walls of the temple gave a vivid view of the culture of the then period in the form of stone sculptures which ornamented the temple.
We looked very carefully and observed that the temple provides the knowledge on the different subject at different height level for different ages.
At the base, the Upana Layer portrayed different reliefs of animals and birds, the basic for the children to know about the creatures of the Mother Earth.
On terraces, the temple holds an enormous amount of carving on dancing and music. Moreover, the musical instruments mainly based on the Odyssey, the traditional dance of Orissa. There are a total of 120 forms of dancing steps stone statues.
Above these our eyes got stuck at the beauty of the carvings illustrating the martial art, fighting postures of the Kshatriyas during the fights and different sequence of cultural stories.
Sculptures Portraying Sexual life at Konark Sun Temple:
Konark Sun Temple is also famous for its erotic sculpture of maithunas, which made us astonished. Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India
These show couples in various stages of love affairs, the act of love and in some cases coital themes. These images are considered notorious in the Colonial era of their unrestrained celebration of sexuality. These sculptures are highly sensual. On the other hand it shows that in the ancient era sex education is a part of learning.
There is no way that you cannot be influenced by the sculptures which are thousands in number.
And above all, the Crown of the temple showcases the sculptures. Sculptures of various Gods and Goddesses in the form of dancing steps, fighting sequence, doing meditation etc.
The temple, surrounded by the beautiful gardens and different sculpture of elephants holding a child into the trunk, debris of the horses’ statues along with many other scattered pieces of different stone carvings which gives a wide perspective of the art and culture.
But the heartbreaking part of Konark Sun Temple is that it is breaking down day by day and the artwork is getting diminished.
After the exploration and the photo session of the beautiful temple, now the time came to return back. So our car started rolling again along the Chandrabagha beach road leaving behind the beautiful temple. Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India
Konark Sun Temple – Black Pagoda of India:
In early days Sun Temple has situated 2 km away from the sea. The European sailors used the temple as a navigational pointer to select their right way. But sadly many shipwrecks happened due to the strong power of the magnet that drew ships into the shore. The magnet was placed on the top of the main temple.
They referred it as the ‘Black Pagoda’ due to its dark color and its magnetic power.
Entrance fees and charges:
- Entry fee is Rs. 30 per head for Indian citizens and visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries.
- Entry fees for others is US$ 5 or INR 250 per head
- Entry is free for children up to 15 years
If you miss our previous story on Odisha Story, then here is the link