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                         Konark Sun Temple

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Sun Temple KonarkSun Temple Konark - The local legends say that King Narasimha Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty had ordered the temple to be built as a symbol of political supremacy of his dynasty. Over 1200 of the most capable artisans and architects worked continuously for 12 years on the construction of the sun temple. It is said that the king had already spent an amount equal over 12 years of the tax collections. However, the completion of the Sun temple was still far from over. Enraged the king issued an ultimatum that the work be completed by a stipulated date with dire consequences otherwise. The team of architects headed by Bisu Maharana was unable to produce a solution to their architectural problem.

It is said that Dharmapada--the young son of the chief architect Bisu Maharana--arrived there as a visiting

onlooker. He became aware of the anxiety looming large among the architects. Although he did not have any practical experience of sun temple construction, he was careful in his study of the theories of temple architecture. He offered a solution to the problem of fixing the last stone at the top of the temple. He surprised everyone by doing that himself. But soon after his glorious achievement the dead body of this adolescent prodigy was found on the sea beach at the foot of the temple. It is often regarded that Dharmapada laid down his life to save his community.

Sun Temple was dedicated to the Sun-God (Arka), popularly called Biranchi-Narayan, and the area in which it is located was known as Arka-Kshetra as well as padma-kshetra. According to folklore, Samba, son of Lord Krishna, was struck with leprosy due a curse of Lord Krishna himself. Samba for 12 years underwent harsh atonement at Mitravana, near the convergence area of Chandrabhaga River with the sea at Konark. He was finally successful in pleasing the SUN god (Surya), the healer of all skin diseases, and was cured of his ailment. In gratitude, he decided to erect a temple in the honor of Surya. The day following his cure, while Samba was bathing in the Chandrabhaga, he discovered an image of the god, which had been fashioned out of Surya's body by Viswakarma. Samba installed this image in a temple he built in Mitravana, where he propitiated the god. Since then, throughout the ages, this place has been regarded as sacred.

World Heritage Sites - Konarak - Sun Temple
Built in the thirteenth century, it was conceived as a gigantic solar chariot with twelve pairs of exquisitely-ornamented wheels dragged by seven rearing horses. The temple comprised a sanctum with a lofty (presumably over 68 m. high) sikhara, a jagamohana (30. m. square and 30. m. high) and a detached nata-mandira (hall of dance) in the same axis, besides numerous subsidiary shrines. The sanctum and the nata-mandira have lost their roof. The nata-mandira exhibits a more balanced architectural design than that of other Orissan temples. The sanctum displays superb images of the Sun-god in the three projections which are treated as miniature shrines. The sanctum and the jagamohana together stand on a common platform studded with an intricate wealth of decorative ornaments and sculptures, often of a highly erotic type.

The roof of the jagamohana, made of horizontal tiers grouped in three stages with life-size female sculptures of matchless charm and delicacy adorning each stage, the whole surmounted by two stupendous crowning members, produces a picturesque contrast of light and shade and is unparalleled for its grandeur and structural propriety. Majestic in conception, this temple is indeed one of the sublimest monuments of India, notable as much for its imposing dimensions and faultless proportions as for the harmonious integration of architectural grandeur with plastic elegance.

Mayadevi Temple :- To the west of the main temple are the remains of temple no.2 popularly called the temple of Mayadevi, believed to have been one of the wives of Lord Surya. But the presence of the sun images as parsvadevata in-situ indicate its dedication to the sun god, built earlier than the main Sun temple. The temple facing east, consists of a sanctum (deul) and a porch (Jagamohana) standing over a raised platform, fa├žade of which is relieved with ornamentation. The superstructures of the sanctum and porch are missing. The interior of the porch is notable for their sculptural treatment while the sanctum is devoid of any deity. Stylistically, the temple is assignable to circa late eleventh century AD.

Vaishnava Temple:- The small brick temple facing east in south-west corner of the compound was discovered in 1956 during the sand clearance. Also called temple no.3 is pancharatha on plan. It consists of a deul and a Jagamohana but with the superstructure is missing and devoid of any exterior decoration. Images of Balarama and two parsvadevatas of Varaha and Trivikrama were unearthed (now displayed in Archaeological Museum, Konark) proving its Vaishnava affiliation. The temple is datable to circa eleventh century A.D.

In the course of time Konak along with its temples and sacred spots have lost their glories. It can neither be definitely said as to how long this temple stood in the fullness of its glory and splendour nor the causes of its decay. There are however, many speculations on this. The exact date and reason for the fall of this magnificent monument is still in mystery. History is almost silent about it. Scholars also differ in their opinions. In support of their views they putforth varied views. The various speculations made as to the possible cause of the fall of this magnificent temple are given below.

Incomplete Temple
It is opined by some historian that due to early death of the king Langula Narasimha Dev, the builder of the Konark temple, the construction of the temple had been left half-hazardly. As a result of this the incomplete structure collapsed in course of time. But this view stands without any basic data. It is rather established from the records of Madala Panji of Puri Jagannath temple as well as from some copper plates that the 1278 A.D. and the king Langula Narasimha Dev reigned till 1282. Many historian are of the opinion that the construction of the Konark temple was completed between 1253 and 1260 A.D. So the argument that due to non completion of the construction the temple collapsed is not tenable.

Insanctity
It is stated by some that according to the legend of Dharmapad, due to committed suicide of Dharmapada on the temple just after placing its crowning stone, the temple lost its sanctity and considered as an unfortunate (Asuva) element and was thus rejected. But it is recorded in the Madala Panji and many historians are of opinion that Sun god had been established in the temple and was being worshipped regularly for years together. So this argument is also not acceptable, being unfounded on history.Curse Of Sumanyu
The great poet of Orissa Sri Radhanath Ray in his Kavya 'Chandrabhaga' has narrated a story about the cause of the fall of temple. According to that Kavya, Sumanyu Risi (saint) cursed the Sun god for his ill-behavior towards his daughter Chandrabhaga, who committed suicide. Hence the temple of the Sun god fell down. But such an imaginary story cannot be taken as a historical occurrence.

Engineering Defects
An the opinion of some Engineers, as usual with the progress of construction of the temple walls, its outside and inside were being filled with sand. After completion of the temple when the sands were cleared both from inside and outside, due to imbalance of pressure of walls the temple fell down. But many scholars do not agree with this argument, when they find the existence of a throne of the Sun god inside the temple. They also do not accept that such a procedure was followed in constructing the Sun temple. Besides there are historical documents that the Sun god was being worshipped in the newly constructed temple for a considerable period.


Earth Quake
Some scholars are of the view that due to earthquake the temple fell down. It is also not impossible on the part of a strong earthquake to demolish such a large structure at a moment.
But there is no proof in support of occuring such an earth quake in this area. There is also no sign of suppression of the foundation of the temple at any direction. Had there been any such a strong earth quake causing the fall of the Sun temple, it could have also created a devastation in Konark area. And such an occurrence could have been remembered by the people as they have remembered the story of Dharmapada, Ramachandi and Bisu Maharana. Nowhere there exists such a devastating statement.
                               

                                                                             

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