Tuesday, May 15, 2012



 Mid-day Sun. Mutilated statue exudes grace !  Dandi on the right.
Because of lack of access, a full frontal view is impossible to capture.

In a giant temple like the one at Konark, there are bound to be 'stories' around the 'birth and life' of the temple.  Through centuries,  some of these  take the proportion of myths.

  Recounting the myths !
Gathering around the story-telling guides.

 It is said that 1200 architects and artisans were given 12 years to build this temple by King NarshimhaDev-1. The team toiled for 12 years while the King spent  his revenue earning for 12 years on this temple-building project. The temple was far from completion  at the end of  the stipulated period. King was quite unhappy - in a mood to punish the team severely for the delay.  Bishu Maharana, the head architect was at his wit's end. His 12 year old son  Dharmapada  reportedly solved the problem of fixing the last coping stone - a 52T magnet according to another version -  though he  was without any experience. He then committed suicide to spare his community  the indignity of wrath of   King's  discovering   the source of   solution of a nagging and critical problem was a 12 year old boy  .

 Was this the principal deity of Konark's Sun-temple ?
Source - ASI Museum, Konark.

Was this death the reason why the deity of Sun was ever was worshiped ? Or did worship  of  Sun in the 'Deul' continue till 1568 AD ( according to another source, desecration  happened during early 17th century) , when Muslims invaded the temple ? Where is the main idol of the sun ? In the temple of Indra at Jagannatha temple complex of Puri ? Or at National Museum, Delhi ?

It is also said that the temple's inner sanctum most of which was damaged had several strong magnets strategically  placed. The iron rich (chlorite ?) statue of Sun was so placed that it did not the touch the base, but, used to float ! These magnets were causing problem to compasses of ships visiting the neighbouring sea coast. Reportedly, the shipping community arranged for removal of the magnets. leading to the collapse of the 'Deul's roof.

  Iron beams preserved within the temple complex.
Strangely, without any explanatory plaque !

  There are stories and counter-arguments....  but,  I find the idol of  Sun floating above the pedestal is a great idea ! We all know, magnets lose power over time . Very likely , ships were not disturbed by the decayed magnets of the temple during 17th or 18th century. Perhaps decay caused collapse of the 'Deul'. There are interesting books on this subject - the most well-known being Sun Temple of Konark  by Pt. Sada Shiv Rathsharma .

  Martanda Vairava at a high level of Jagamohana.  Feet in a posture of dance, Vairava has 'ghora' -fierce - disposition. Fangs out and 'Kapala' in left hand.
A fine 'chlorite' statue.

 But, here stands the temple partly restored, the areas around cleared, foundations of  the smaller temples exposed and rebuilt, the 2 victory horses and 2  giant elephants on elegant pedestals. This site attracts thousands of visitors everyday . King NarashimhaDev- I, Dharmapada and Bishu Maharana  with his team would be remembered  while this Sun temple remains firm at Konark.
 Mythical lion in the Sun temple complex - made of khondalite stone.
ASI uses green hue extensively during evening illumination to highlight the 'chlorite' idols of Surya and 
create an effect on such khondalite statues too !



My friend Satyendu has at least twice appreciated my blogs on Konark through his e-mail to me. This time, his comment is :
Await Part II with bated breath.'

Thanks Satyen !

anjali gupta said...

I really liked your post. Konark temple is a UNESCO World heritage site and is a stunning monument of religious architecture. For people who are planning to visit Bhubaneswar, check out these hotels in Bhubaneswar near railway station.