Magnificent, imposing, intricate, aesthetic, striking…. I fall short of adjectives to describe the beauty of the Sun temple at Konark, situated in the eastern state of Odissa, India. I had visited this medieval monument some time back and was spellbound by its architectural marvel. No wonder it has been declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO.
The name Konark is an amalgamation of two words, Kona- corner and Arka- Sun, dedicated to the Sun god. It was constructed in the 13th century in a span of mere 12 years.
It is said that, “The language of the stone defeats the language of man here”. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the Sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants and beneath them is a man. The lions represent pride, the elephants represent wealth and both of them consume man.
The base of the temple has many erotic carvings. There are sculptures of animals, dancers, musicians, warriors on horses and other mythical creatures. The three images of the Sun God are positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
Today, unfortunately a huge part of it is in ruins. The government is undertaking some restoration work. In spite of this, the grandeur of the temple is worth witnessing. The stones come to life narrating their saga. It reflects the mastermind of the architects and sculptors who envisaged it centuries ago. Sharing some of the pictures from my visit.