India houses several brilliant architecture and few of them are viewed as master piece of art, one among them is the Sun temple, situated at Konark in Odisha. Temple was constructed in 1255 AD by the emperor of Ganga dynasty. This temple is truly devoted to the Sun God. When there are so many Gods in India to worship, why was this temple dedicated to the Sun? Answer is very simple, In India, Sun is worshipped as the God since ancient period and it is also respected as supreme God of the Universe, because it provides vital energy for life.
Legend says that, Lord Krishna’s son was suffering from leprosy which was caused due to his father’s curse, so he undergone hard penance near Chandrabhaga River for 12 years, as advised by the sage Kataka. As a result, Sun God was pleased and cured his disease, in order to show his gratitude he constructed a temple for the Sun. Temple holds the pride of being featured in the list of seven wonder of India, published by various firms including NDTV and Times of India.
To begin with architecture of the temple, architects had followed Kalinga architecture which is considered as traditional architectural style. One can see the temple in the form of Sun God’s chariot which is mounted on twenty four stone wheels that are carved diligently. The carvings in the wheels replicate the sun dial. The stone wheel measures 10 feet diameter and pulled by seven holy horses, four horses on the right and three on the left. This is designed towards east, because the first rays of Sun should strike the main entrance of the temple. The entire temple is carved with images of various animals, warriors, foliage and various other patterns. One can find beautifully carved designs on the roofs and wall of the temple.
It is believed that, iron plates were kept in between every two stones of the temple and a heavy magnet was placed at the top of the temple. As a result of these arrangements, the idol has been floating in air. But later on, this magnet was removed, because the sea sailors were facing trouble as their compasses were disturbed.
The unique feature of the temple is the geometrical designs all over the temple. There are two lions in the entrance; each elephants are portrayed as assassinating a war elephant. The meaning behind this sculpture is, humans are destroyed by the pride and extensive amount of wealth. Here in the sculpture, the lions symbolize the pride and elephants symbolize the extensive wealth. One can find three images of the Sun God in the three accurate directions of the temple, this arrangement is made to capture the rays of Sun during morning, noon and evening. The Sun temple is a true blend is magnificent architecture, beautiful sculptures and brilliant geometrical patterns.
The initial structure of the temple featured a 229 feet principal sanctum sanctorum, but the main sanctorum fell in 1837. Few people state that the building fell due to the extensive weight and weak soil while others mention that the removal of magnet is the reason behind the ruin. You can still explore the brilliant skills of architects and ideal mind behind the construction even in the ruined state of the temple.
One can explore the damaged parts of the building in the Konark Museum, as the archeological department of India has several collections of sculpture. They had taken measures to preserve such a marvelous art piece sculptures from the temple ruins.