Sun Temple – konark( Orissa )
Image credit : SSVV
Konark (or Konarak) is a small town in the state of Orissa, India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometres from Bhubaneswar. Konark is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva. The temple is one of the most important Brahman sanctuaries, and is a world heritage site. It takes the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving.
Image credit : Sanjay P. K.
Image credit : Marc Levoy
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.
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The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: “here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”. Konark is also home to an annual dance festival, held every December, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Orissa, odissi.
Image credit : Siddhu
Built in the 13th century, it was conceived as a gigantic solar chariot with 12 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.