Konark Temple: A Brilliance In Indian Architecture
The Konark Temple in Odisha is one of the most beautiful temples in India. Have you ever wanted to witness its beauty, but have been confused as to what to see? There are so many things to see and do at the temple, that at times you might end up missing some of the most magnificent things. Just read below to know more about the Sun Temple and all the significant details of this temple.
The Sun Temple in Konark is said to be one of the most marvellous and beautiful temples in India. The temple deduced to the Sun God is a true representation of the wonders of Indian architecture. The Konark Temple is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the Seven Wonders of India.
The History of the Temple:
The Sun Temple is devoted to Lord Surya and has some engrossing and interesting history and stories. Various stories try to explain the origin of this temple, however, no one knows which one is true.
One story sings the praises of King Narsimhadeva who defeated the Muslim invaders and then built the temple in honour of his victory.
Another anecdote goes on to say that Lord Krishna’s son Samba suffered from leprosy, and he decided to worship Lord Surya ardently. After 12 years Lord Surya was so pleased with Samba that he then cured his disease. After curing the disease he also helped Samba erect the Sun Temple in Konark.
The Main Architecture
The most unique and defining feature of this temple is its shape. It looks like a chariot. The chariot is made in such a way that it looks like the Sun God himself is driving it and I seated inside the “Garbagriha” or inner sanctum. The chariot also has seven sculpted horses and twenty-four wheels. The horses represent the days of the week and the wheels represent the hours of the day. The Konark temple is also called the Pancha Ratha as it is classified into five projections.
The Vimana: The main shrine is called the Vimana. It has a dancing hall and a gathering hall. The gathering hall is a wonderful area, and you can almost see the hall come alive when you enter it. The hall was built for dances by dancing girls who dance in the devotion of the Sun God.
The temple also has four large and wide doors that are located on all four sides. If you enter through the Wester door you will reach the inner sanctum which is called the Antarala. One of the defining features of this temple is the huge pillars that are adorned with pictures from a time long gone. The entire area is like walking into an art museum, it is so richly designed and decorated.
The Myth Belongs To The Temple
If you look closely you will realise that all the painting at the entrance form a mythological story when they are weaved together. The tales will keep you entertained and engrossed all through your tour. The basement of the temple has 1452 elephants carved all in different poses. Even the idea of thinking of so many different poses for an animal like the elephant is unimaginable.
You will also find paintings of servants holding the umbrellas over their kings and queens. Many other such pictures depict a regular royal life.
Things to do:
There are so many fascinating things to do and look for when you are visiting the wonderful Konark Temple, that at times you might feel lost. You will be at loss regarding what to do, and what all to admire or what do those symbols mean. You might even miss something extremely unique and exciting. Here are a few things that you must do while you are visiting the Konark Temple to fully grasp’s its beauty:
Twelve pairs of wheels are located at the base of this chariot temple. However, if you look closely you will realise that these wheels are unlike any other. The bars of the wheels come together to form a sundial. You can try and figure out the time just by looking at the shadow cast by these wheels on the floor.
The Konark Temple is facing the East-West direction. This wasn’t merely a happenstance, but it was intentionally made this way so that the first rays of the sun hit the main deity. If you can, then try and come to this temple before sunrise. The temple looks fabulous as the sun starts to wake up and cover the entire temple with its golden rays.
Feel The Carvings
The beauty of the Konark Temple lies not only in the architecture but also, in the carvings that adorn the temple.
The cravings weave a story, and as you move forward you will realise how many anecdotes, stories and folklores are visually depicted through the carvings. You must hire a guide to walk you through these carvings so that you fully understand the story behind each one.
Some of them are so beautiful that you will be left staring at them for a long time. Such intricacies and detailing is hard to find and even imagine.
Make sure you watch the intricate carvings that are on the walls and roofs. You will find animals, leaves, soldiers riding horses, men and women all carved on the walls. There are wonderful images of the sun God also, and they are arranged in such a way that they catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
The Konark Temple has some of the mesmerising and ornate halls. The Audience Hall, Dining hall and Dancing Hall are some of the most magnificent halls that are decorated immaculately. You must also see the richly adorned Navagraha slab. This slab is meant to protect the temple.
Inside The Main Shrine
The main deity is situated inside the main shrine. The brilliance of the main idol of the Sun God is that it seems like it is floating mid-air. The sheer magnificence that this creates is phenomenal. It seems like some powerful external force is making the idol float like that.
Legends suggest that the mystery behind this lies in magnets and metals. Several anecdotes suggest that any boat or ship that came near the Konark Temple was destroyed due to the magnetic pull of the temple.
Whether this is true or not is yet to be decided, however, there is no doubt that the temple does have something metaphorically magnetic about it. It can captivate, attract and even hypnotise the visitors. The temple can easily make you fall in love with it.
Few Tips For Tourists
You have to pay an entrance fee before entering the temple. For Indians, it is INR 10 and for foreigners INR 250. Children below 15 years will not require an entrance fee.
You can click photographs, however, videography has an additional charge of INR 25.
You must hire a guide to understand the littlest details of the temple. They will also tell you about all the stories and legends that are associated with this temple, making your trip all the more exciting.
Visit the temple either at sunset or during sunrise. Both of these times the temple look gorgeous and breathtaking.