Konark Temple: The Mysteries of The Abandoned Sun Temple of Odisha

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The Konark Temple is a 13th-century Hindu temple dedicated to the sun god Surya. It is located in the town of Konark in the Indian state of Odisha. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important architectural and cultural monuments in India.The temple was never completed, and it was abandoned in the 15th century. The reasons for the temple’s abandonment are unknown, but it is thought to have been due to a combination of factors, including natural disasters and attacks by invaders.

History of the Konark Temple

Establishment of Konark Temple:

It is believed that the temple was commissioned by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 13th century.King Narasimhadeva , was a powerful and wealthy ruler. He was also a devout Hindu, and he was known for his patronage of the arts and architecture. The Konark Temple was one of his most ambitious projects, and it was intended to be a grand and magnificent tribute to the sun god Surya. The temple was never completed, but it is still an impressive and awe-inspiring monument.

The Architectural Style of the Temple and its significance:

The Konark Temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, which is one of the three major styles of Hindu temple architecture in India. The other two styles are the Nagara style and the Dravidian style.

The Kalinga style is characterized by its use of sandstone, its intricate carvings, and its unique chariot-like design. The temple is said to resemble a chariot, with 12 pairs of wheels and seven horses. The wheels are decorated with scenes from Hindu mythology, and the horses are said to represent the sun’s rays.

The architectural style of the Konark Temple is significant for a number of reasons. First, it is a rare example of the Kalinga style, which is one of the least-known styles of Hindu temple architecture. Second, the temple is an outstanding example of the use of sandstone in architecture. The sandstone used in the temple is of a very high quality, and the carvings are incredibly detailed and intricate. Third, the temple’s chariot-like design is unique and innovative. It is a testament to the creativity and skill of the architects who designed the temple.

Konark Temple inside

The Konark Temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture and is one of the most important architectural and cultural monuments in India. It is a testament to the power and creativity of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, and it is a reminder of the rich and vibrant history of India.

The use of sandstone is a defining feature of the Kalinga style. Sandstone is a soft stone that is easily carved, which allows for the intricate details that are characteristic of Kalinga architecture. The carvings on the Konark Temple are some of the most detailed and intricate in all of India.

The chariot-like design of the Konark Temple is also a unique feature of the Kalinga style. The temple resembles a chariot, with 12 pairs of wheels and seven horses. The wheels are decorated with scenes from Hindu mythology, and the horses are said to represent the sun’s rays. The orientation of the temple towards the east is also a common feature of Kalinga architecture. This is because the sun god Surya is said to rise in the east, and the temple is designed to face the rising sun.

The use of symbolism is another important feature of Kalinga architecture. The temple is decorated with a variety of symbols, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and the animals. These symbols are used to represent the different aspects of the universe and the divine.

The Abandoned Temple of Odisha: Why was The Sun Temple Abandoned?

There is an inscription on the temple that records that it was damaged by a cyclone in the 14th century. This suggests that the temple was already in a state of decline by the 15th century. there are also accounts of Muslim armies destroying Hindu temples in the region during this time period. For example, the Muslim general Kalapahad is said to have destroyed the Jagannath Temple in Puri in 1568. It is possible that the Konark Temple was also destroyed by Kalapahad or another Muslim army. The destruction of the temple was deliberate, and the armies broke down the seven horses of the Jagamohana with a single mad cry . The temple was called the “Black Pagoda” in European sailor accounts as early as 1676 because it looked like a great tiered tower which appeared black.

Proves of Intolerance:

Konark is just 40 km away from the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri. The Puri temple is also carrying evidences of Muslim rulers’ invasions . Firoz Shah Tughlaq was a Delhi Sultan who ruled from 1351 to 1388. He was a devout Muslim, and he was known for his intolerance of other religions. In 1360, he invaded Puri, a city in India that is home to the Puri Jagannath Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Jagannath. According to some accounts, Firoz Shah Tughlaq ordered the destruction of the temple and the desecration of the idols. He is said to have had the idols dragged through the streets and then thrown into the sea. He also ordered the killing of many of the temple’s devotees.

Aurangzeb was the sixth Mughal emperor of India. He ruled from 1658 to 1707. In 1669, he issued an order to destroy the Puri Jagannath Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Jagannath. The order met widespread protests from the Hindu community. However, Aurangzeb refused to back down. He sent a large army to Puri, and they destroyed the temple. The destruction of the Puri Jagannath Temple was a major blow to the Hindu community in India. It was also a symbolic victory for Aurangzeb, who was trying to assert his dominance over the region.

The natural disaster theory: This theory states that the temple was damaged by a series of natural disasters, such as cyclones and earthquakes. There is evidence to support this theory, such as the inscription that records the damage caused by a cyclone in the 14th century.

The economic decline theory: This theory states that the temple was abandoned due to economic decline in the region. The Eastern Ganga dynasty, which commissioned the temple, declined in the 15th century. This could have led to a decrease in funding for the temple’s upkeep and maintenance.

Suicide:

Dharmapada was the son of Bishu Maharana, the architect who designed the temple. Dharmapada was tasked with completing the final step of the temple’s construction, but he was afraid that he would not be able to do it perfectly. He knew that if he failed, his father would be disgraced.

In order to prevent his father from being disgraced, Dharmapada jumped into the ocean and drowned himself. His suicide made the temple unholy, and the Sun God was never worshipped there. The temple was also destroyed by Kalapahada in 1508, along with other Hindu temples in Orissa. The legend of Dharmapada is a tragic one, but it also speaks to the importance of perfection in Hindu culture. The idea that a single mistake could lead to such a devastating outcome is a powerful reminder of the need for excellence in all things.

The legend of Dharmapada is also a reminder of the power of love and sacrifice. Dharmapada was willing to give his own life to protect his father’s reputation. This act of love and sacrifice is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

The Mysteries of The Konark Sun Temple:

The temple as an astronomical observatory: Some scholars believe that the Konark Temple was an astronomical observatory. The temple is located in a strategic location, and the carvings on the temple are thought to be astronomical calculations. Konark temple mystery still fascinates us.

The Legend of Samba:

Samba was an young prince in Kalinga. He was the son of Krishna, the god of protection and love, and Rukmini, the princess of Vidarbha. Samba was a handsome and playful boy, but he was also very mischievous. One day, Samba was playing in the forest when he came across a group of sages. The sages were meditating, and they were very angry when Samba disturbed them. They cursed Samba, saying that he would be covered in leprosy.

Samba devastated and he went to his father, Krishna, and begged for help. Krishna took Samba to the sun god Surya, who was said to be able to cure leprosy. Surya agreed to cure Samba, but only if he built a temple in his honor. Samba agreed, and he set to work building the temple. He worked day and night, and he was very close to finishing when he made a mistake. He carved a figure of a woman on the temple, which was forbidden. When Surya saw the figure, he was angry. He cursed the temple, saying that it would never be completed. The temple was abandoned, and it has been in ruins ever since.

The wheel of the Konark Temple: The wheel of the Konark Temple is believed to have been used as a solar clock. The wheel is divided into 24 spokes, each of which represents an hour of the day. The position of the sun’s rays on the wheel would have indicated the time of day.

The wheel is also decorated with intricate carvings, which are thought to represent the different phases of the sun. The carvings are also thought to be astronomical calculations, which would have helped the ancient Hindus to track the movement of the sun and the stars. The wheel is a fascinating example of the ingenuity and engineering skills of the ancient Hindus. It is a testament to their knowledge of astronomy and their ability to build complex structures.

  • The wheel is oriented so that it faces east, towards the rising sun.
  • The spokes of the wheel are aligned with the 24 hours of the day.
  • The position of the sun’s rays on the wheel would have indicated the time of day.
  • The carvings on the wheel are thought to represent the different phases of the sun.
  • The carvings are also thought to be astronomical calculations, which would have helped the ancient Hindus to track the movement of the sun and the stars.

No Entry after Sunset:

The temple is open for all (with tickets), during the day. But you can’t go there after Sunset. The Konark Temple is protected by the government and is not allowed to be entered at night. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is the government agency responsible for the protection of the temple, has imposed a night ban on the temple due to safety and security concerns.

The ASI has stated that the temple is not well-lit at night and is not patrolled by security guards. This makes it a target for thieves and vandals. The ASI has also stated that there have been reports of muggings and other crimes in the area around the temple at night. In addition to safety concerns, the ASI has also cited religious beliefs as a reason for the night ban. Some people believe that the temple is haunted, and they are afraid to visit at night. There are also legends that the temple is cursed, and that anyone who enters it at night will be harmed.

The ASI has also stated that some people believe that it is disrespectful to visit a temple at night. They believe that the temple should only be visited during the day, when it is illuminated by the sun.

Konark temple as a tourist destination:

the Konark Temple is a popular tourist destination. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the most important architectural and cultural monuments in India.The temple is in ruins, but it is still a popular tourist destination. Visitors can walk around the temple and admire the carvings. They can also learn about the history and significance of the temple from the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) guides.

How to visit Konark Temple from Puri?

Generally people go to Puri to visit the Jagannath temple. Then they assign a travel agency to reach all the travel destinations nearby. They’ll take you to the Konark Temple and many other tourist spots. But if you want to visit their on your own, You can take a bus from Puri to Konark, which will take about an hour. Both OSRTC and private operators offer bus service between the two cities.

Who built the Konark Sun Temple?

The Konark Sun Temple was built by King Narasimha I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 13th century.

When was the Konark Sun Temple built?

The Konark Sun Temple was built in the 13th century. The exact date of construction is unknown, but it is thought to have been built between 1236 and 1264.

What dynasty built the Konark Sun Temple?

The Konark Sun Temple was built by the Eastern Ganga dynasty. The Eastern Ganga dynasty was a Hindu dynasty that ruled over the Odisha region of India from the 7th to the 16th centuries.

What are the timings of the Konark Sun Temple?

The Konark Sun Temple is open to the public from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The temple is closed on Mondays.

How to reach Konark Sun Temple?

The Konark Sun Temple is located in the town of Konark in the Puri district of Odisha. It is about 35 kilometers from the city of Puri.

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