Friday, 2 November 2012


Orissa (PART-VI)

Puri (2)

Konark is a small town in the Puri district in the state of Orissa. It lies on the coast by the Bay of Bengal, 65 kilometers from the capital of the state, Bhubaneswar . It is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple, also known as the Black Pagoda, built in black granite during the reign of Narasimhadeva-I. The temple is a World Heritage Site. The temple is now mostly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Konark is also home to an annual dance festival called *Konark Dance Festival, held every December, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Orissa, Odissi.

Konark Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Orissa. It was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1238-1250 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is an example of Orissan architecture of Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site. It is one of the Seven Wonders of India (as per the poll collected by NDTV). Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple.

A stone art work in Sun temple Konark

A stone art work in Sun temple Konark

Konark Sun Temple is famous for its stone sculptures. Mighty simha-gajas (Lion and elephant) welcome the visitors at the entrance. Out of the total complex only the main entrance hall known as Mukhasala is only remains of the temple as a testimony to the glorious beauty of Orissa craftsmanship. The height of this Mukhasala is 45.7 m. There are four doors but all of them are closed and the temple is filled with sand and stone packing materials to prevent falling of stones. 



Naata Mandir (Hall of Dance) is one of the parts of the Sun Temple. There is a pair of war elephant at the entrance of this Naata Mandir. At the top platform there are three opening sections designed to allow sun rays to fall straight into. They are designed keeping in mind the different position of the sun in different seasons. There is no roof for this Hall of Dance. Some historians say that the roof has collapsed.

Naata Mandir (Hall of Dance)

All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns. There are also human, divine and semi-divine figures in sensuous poses. The poses contain couples in various amorous poses, and are derived from the **Kamasutra. 

A sensuous pose from Kamasutra

The temple is designed in the shape of a chariot resembling the sun chariot. The wheels of the chariot have lot of engraved art work around its axis and peripheries. There are 24 wheels fixed to the temple and is of 9 feet 9 inches in diameter and they are having 8 spokes. All stone wheels are full with engraved art works. Out of 24 wheels 6 are in either side of the main temple, 4 wheels are on each side of the Mukhasala and 2 wheels on each side of steps at eastern front. The 24 wheels signifies 24 hours of a day and the 8 spokes signifies prahars ( three hour period ) of a day. 

A wheel of Sun Temple

Konark Wheel is used in Government of India official symbol and in some currency notes of Indian rupees.
Now the replica of Konarak Wheel is available in Stone, silver and wood are having good demand in market.

*Konark Dance Festival:  is a dance festival held every year in December in backdrop of the Sun temple in Konark. The exquisite 'Salamander' or the 'dancing hall' of this shrine is an architectural wonder. Every inch of its walls have been covered with fine artistic designs of the ancient times. Musicians playing drums, cymbals and other musical instruments adorn the sculptures in Odissi dance poses. Many celebrated dancers from all over the country perform at this venue. Since 1989, this festival has been organized in the state jointly by Orissa Tourism and Odissi Research Centre to promote the diverse Indian dance heritage as well as the popularity of Konark Temple and Orissa as a tourist destination.

Konark Dance Festival

**Kama Sutra:  The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vatsyayana. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse. It is largely in prose, with many inserted anustubh poetry verses. "Kama" which is one of the three goals of Hindu life, means sensual or sexual pleasure, and "sutra" literally means a thread or line that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Contrary to popular perception, especially in the western world, Kama sutra is not just an exclusive sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life.

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