"The KONARK SUN TEMPLE " , Puri, Odisha.
"TheKonark Sun Temple" (Konark Surya Mandir) is a 13th-century, Sun temple at Konark about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India.The temple is attributed to"king Narasimhadeva I" of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
The name ''Konark'' derives from the combination of the Sanskrit words '' Kona''(corner or angle) and 'Arka' (the sun).The context of the term Kona is unclear, but probably refers to the southeast location of this temple either within a larger temple complex or in relation to other sun temples on the subcontinent. The ''Arka'' refers to the Hindu sun god Surya.
It is dedicated to the Hindu Sun "God Surya" , what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone. Once over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary; at one time this rose much higher than the mandapa that remains. The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic kama and mithuna scenes. Also called the Surya Devalaya, it is a classic illustration of the " Great Utkalia architecture or Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture" .
CONSTRUCTION : -
The Konark Sun Temple was built in A.D.1250 during the reign of the Eastern Ganga "King Narasimhadeva-1" from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. In Hindu Vedic iconography "Surya" is represented as rising in the east and traveling rapidly across the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses. He is described typically as a resplendent standing person holding a lotus flower in both his hands, riding the chariot marshaled by the charioteer Aruna.The seven horses are named after the seven meters of Sanskrit prosody: Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha, and Pankti. Typically seen flanking Surya are two females who represent the dawn goddesses, Usha and Pratyusha. The goddesses are shown to be shooting arrows, a symbol of their initiative in challenging the darkness. The architecture is also symbolic, with the chariot's twelve pairs of wheels corresponding to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, each month paired into two cycles (Shukla and Krishna).
The temple was sponsored by the king, and its construction was overseen by "Siva Samantaraya Mahapatra" and the Chief of . It was built near an old Surya temple. The sculpture in the older temple's sanctum was re-consecrated and incorporated into the newer larger temple. This chronology of temple site's evolution is supported by many copper plate inscriptions of the era in which the Konark temple is referred to as the "great cottage".
According to "James Harle" , the temple as built in the 13th century consisted of two main structures, the dance mandapa and the great temple (deul). The smaller mandapa is the structure that survives; the great deul collapsed sometime in the late 16th century or after. According to Harle, the original temple "must originally have stood to a height of some 225 feet (69 m)", but only parts of its walls and decorative mouldings remain.
The Konark temple presents this iconography on a grand scale. It has 24 elaborately carved stone wheels which are nearly 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter and are pulled by a set of seven horses. When viewed from inland during the dawn and sunrise, the chariot-shaped temple appears to emerge from the depths of the blue sea carrying the sun.
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