Friday, February 1, 2008

Sun Temple of Konark

There are certain things without which Orissa can’t be thought off. One of them is the Konark Wheel or Chaka.

Konark Wheel---Symbol of Orissa

The Sun Temple of Konark or the Black Pagoda was constructed in mid thirteenth century by Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty.Konark was coined as Black Pagoda by European sailors who used it as a landmark. During earlier days Konark Temple used to be nearer the sea shore but as time ticked over the centuries ,Bay of Bengal had receded from the temple premises to almost 2 kms.Just ignite your Grey matter which helps in imagination and view the scene that Sailors must be seeing-A mammoth Black temple or the Konark Temple and at a distance ,the White Pagoda or the Jagganath Temple of Puri.

The Chariot Temple--Complete picture

King Narasimha Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty started the construction of the Konark Temple as a matter of pride and symbol of supremacy.It was conceptualised as a huge chariot of Sun God on twelve pairs of extremely beautiful and artistic wheels drawn by seven horses.

From the Nata Mandapa

Every figure is different from the many ideas

Carvings on the walls of the main temple is worth clicking. Though honestly speaking ,I don't have that much interest in this kind of sculpture but what I saw made me wonder about the creativity of the artisans who worked on these walls. Its there sweat and blood that has gone onto make what it is.

Lions at the entrance roaring about the past glory of Kalinga...

King employed around Twelve Hundred artisans in the work which continued for over a period of 12 years.But still work was not getting completed as per the time schedule set by the king. Frustrated with the progress and expenses ,king gave an ultimatum to the artisans.Either work would get completed in the stipulated time or everyone of the artisans will meet with dire consequences. The whole team under Bisu Maharana ,the chief architect was able to solve every problem but for one. Only unsolved problem was fixing the last stone at the top of the temple. Dharmapada, the young son of the chief architect Bisu Maharana came to know about the problem and made an attempt. With his limited prior experience he was able to solve the final problem. But he had to pay a price and what a costly one.Dead body of Dharmapada was found on the sea beach as he had jumped from the top of the temple. It is said that Dharmapada laid down his life to save his father’s pride.This incident also proves the fact that Konark Temple was actually on the beach.

Wonderful Front View

Magnanimous Konark Wheel

This picture above proves that modern day architects are no where near in terms of skills to that of Bisu Maharana's team.Look at the bottom half of the rim and the top half which has been repaired in recent times.

Depicting the brave Oriya spirit

There is one anecdote that there was a huge Magnetic Load Stone on the top of the temple to keep the walls of the temple in place. But due to its extreme magnetic effects it was drawing shipping vessels passing through the Konark sea as a result of which there were stories of huge ships sinking. No body knows how that load stone did vanish. But legends tell that perhaps Britishers or may be Muslim Voyagers were responsible for sudden vanishing of the stone from the top. This is also one of the reasons being given for the downfall of the temple of walls.

Autumn Flowers of Palash in the nearby garden

With shades of red...

Now with Yellow...which one is better???

But ,still my trip to Konark was incomplete and must be same for others also. No one knows what it must be inside as its filled with sand.There is an inscription which says that British Government did fill the interior with sand to protect the marvelous carvings inside.Can you smell some thing fishy?
It was time for me and Siddhu to end the trip. But ,how can the trip be complete without some sweets ,integral part of the traditional Oriya Culture.So, we had plate full of Chena Jhillis at Nimapara(Nimapada) on the way back to Bhubaneswar.
And ,what a co incidence that Siddhu was returning to Pune by Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Konark Express.