Konark Temple, Odisha
The Konark temple is also known as Konaditya. Its name Konark is derived form the words Kona – Corner and Arka – Sun; it is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. It is also known as Arkakshetra.
Konark Sun Temple belongs to 13th-century CE sun temple at Konark about 35 kilometres northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India. The temple is ascribed to king Narasingha deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE
The Konark Temple was built from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. In Hindu Vedic history Surya is represented as rising in the east and travelling across the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses. He is described typically as a radiant standing person holding a lotus flower in both his hands, riding the chariot alligned by the charioteer Aruna. The horses are named after the seven meters of Sanskrit prosody: Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha, and Pankti. Typically Surya is seen flanking by two females who represent the dawn goddesses, Usha and Pratyusha. These goddesses are shown to be shooting arrows, a symbol of their initiative in challenging darkness. The architecture is also symbolic, with the chariot’s twelve pairs of wheels corresponding to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, each month paired into two cycles (Shukla and Krishna).
Iconography at Konark temple is presented on a grand scale. It has got 24 elaborately carved stone wheels which are nearly 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter and are pulled by a set of seven horses. When viewed from inland during the dawn and sunrise, the chariot-shaped temple appears to rising from the depths of the blue sea carrying the sun.
It is dedicated to the Hindu ‘god Surya, what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone. Initially over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary. The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their complex artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic kama and mithuna scenes. It is also called the Surya Devalaya, it is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture.
The oldest remaining Vedic hymns of the Rigveda, mention Surya with particular reverence for the “rising sun” and its symbolism as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers knowledge, the good, and all life. In many of these hymns, the word Surya simply means sun as an inanimate object, a stone, or a gem in the sky and in others it refers to a personified deity. In the Vedic texts, Surya is one of the several trinities along with Agni and either Vayu or Indra, which are presented as an equivalent icon and aspect of the Hindu metaphysical concept called the Brahman. As per Brahmanas layer of Vedic literature, Surya appears with Agni (fire god) in the same hymns. Surya is admired for the day, and Agni for its role during the night. As per Kapila Vatsyayan, the concept of a Surya–Agni relationship evolves, and in following literature Surya is described as Agni representing the first principle and the seed of the universe. It is stated in the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, and the Upanishads that Surya is directly linked to the power of sight, and to visual perception and knowledge. He is then interiorize and said to be the eye, as ancient Hindu tales suggested abandonment of external rituals to gods in favor of internal reflection and meditation of the gods within, in one’s journey to realize the inner soul (inner self) within, in texts such as the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Kaushitaki Upanishad, and others.
Coming to The Mahabharata epic, it opens its chapter on Surya by reverentially calling him the “eye of the universe, soul of all existence, origin of all life, goal of the Yogis and, and Samkhyas symbolism for freedom and spiritual emancipation”. As per the Mahabharata, Karna is the son of Surya and an unmarried princess named Kunti. The epic tale describes Kunti’s difficult life as an unmarried mother, then her abandonment of Karna, followed by her lifelong grief. The infant Karna is found and then adopted, and grows up to become one of the central characters in the great battle of Kurukshetra where he fights his half-brothers Bollywood News.
Other temples and monuments
The Konark Sun Temple has ruins of many subsidiary shrines and monuments around the main temple. Some of these include:
Mayadevi Temple – It is located in west-southwest from the entrance of the main temple, it has been dated to the late 11th century, earlier than the main temple. It consists of a mandapa, a sanctuary and, before it, an open platform. It was discovered during digging out between 1900 and 1910. Former theories assumed that it was dedicated to Surya’s wife and thus named the Mayadevi Temple. But however, later studies suggested that it was also a Surya temple, though an older one that was fused into the complex when the monumental temple was built. This temple has numerous carvings and a square mandapa is overlain by a sapta-ratha. The shrine of this Surya temple features a Nataraja and other deities in the interior include a damaged Surya holding a lotus, along with Agni, Varuna, Vishnu, and Vayu.
Vaishnava Temple – This temple is located southwest of the so-called Mayadevi Temple, it was discovered in 1956 during excavations. This discovery was of importance because it confirmed that the Konark Sun Temple complex revered all the major Hindu traditions, and was not an exclusive worship place for the saura cult as previously believed. This temple is small with sculptures of Balarama, Varaha, and Vamana–Trivikrama in its sanctum, marking it as a Vaishnavite temple. These sculptures are shown as wearing dhoti and a lot of jewelry. The alter’s primary idol is missing, as are images from some niches in the temple filmywap.
Kitchen – This monument is found in the south of the bhoga mandapa (feeding hall). It was discovered in excavations in the 1950s. It was build to bring water, cisterns to store water, drains, a cooking floor, depressions in the floor probably for pounding spices or grains, as well several triple ovens (chulahs) for cooking. It was designed for festive occasions or a part of a community feeding hall. As per Tomas Donaldson, the kitchen complex may have been added a little later than the original temple.
Well 1 – Is located north of the kitchen, towards its eastern flank, was probably built to supply water to the community kitchen and bhoga mandapa. Near this well, there are pillared mandapa and five structures, some with semi-circular steps whose role is unclear.
Well 2 – This monument and associated structures are located in the front of the northern staircase of the main temple, with foot rests, a washing platform, and a wash water drain system. It was may be designed for the use of pilgrims arriving at the temple.
The collection of many fallen sculptures can be viewed at the Konark Archaeological Museum, which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The upper portion that had been fallen of the temple is believed to have been studded with many inscriptions.
The reasons behind the destruction of the Konark temple are unclear and remain a source of controversy. Many theories are there, these theories range from natural damage to deliberate destruction of the temple in the course of being sacked several times by Muslim armies between the 15th and 17th centuries. This temple appeared black and was named the “Black Pagoda” in European sailor accounts in as early as 1676. And similarly, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda”. Both these temples serve as important landmarks for sailors in the Bay of Bengal. Current condition in which the temple exists was partially restored by the conservation efforts of British India-era archaeological teams. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984, it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela around the month of February.
Article written by : Sarkari Result