The Sun Temple Konark: Unraveling the History, Mystery, and Marvels of Black Pagoda
The place visible on the Indian currency note of 10 rupees, is a prime example of Indian culture and architecture, that would undoubtedly evoke the feeling that it could only exist within the boundaries of India. It is the Sun Temple of Konark.
Built on the coastline of the Bay of Bengal, about 65 km from Bhubaneswar in Odisha, this 700-year-old temple is surrounded by many stories and mysteries. From the secrets behind the closed doors of the temple to the ghostly spirits of dancers from more than a century ago, this temple is home to a lot of mysteries.
Let us know about the history, mystery, and more information about the sun temple of Konark!!!!
This Sun Temple of Konark, built in the 13th century, is dedicated to Lord Surya. “Kona” means “corner” or “edge” and “arc” means “sun”, when these two words are combined it becomes “corner of the sun”.
According to famous historian Abul Fazl, this monument of Kalinga Architecture, the Sun Temple, was built during the reign of King Narasimha I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. It was Narasimha I who completed the construction of the Jagannath Puri temple in Odisha. It is believed that it was built on about 12 acres of land by the Bay of Bengal, and during this time the entire revenue of the empire was spent on it. In 1984, this temple was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A major part of the structure of the temple has deteriorated, but it is still one of the most famous temples in India. The temple was built of black granite and took 12 years to complete.
The architecture is so amazing that it has been designed in such a way that the first ray of sunlight falls directly on the main gate. The rays of the sun falling on the wheels made in the temple, which act as sundials, can be used to tell the time even today.
The temple is built in the form of a giant chariot, with 24 huge wheels, 12 on either side, which appear to be pulled by seven horses. The 12 pairs of wheels symbolize the 12 months of the year, and the 7 horses the 7 days.
The entrance is guarded by two huge lions, each flanking a war elephant, and beneath the elephant is a man. The lion has become a symbol of pride, and the elephant has become a symbol of wealth. This scene tells us how excessive pride and wealth crush a person
The Sun Temple at Konark is built in the Kalinga or Orissa style, a subset of the Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture. The Orissa style is believed to best represent the Nagara style. Although Odisha comes in the eastern part, but still this temple has been built in the city style of North India.
One of the reasons for doing so may be that the kingdom of Anantavarman, king of the Ganga dynasty, also included many regions of northern India, so he and his successors may have also been influenced by the art of North India, which influenced Konark. It is also visible in the Sun Temple.
The beautiful sculptures and architecture of the Sun Temple are the greatest achievement of the Odisha style. The idols here present different types of themes, some idols are made on religious themes, while some idols are made on erotic themes. There is also a sculptural panel that depicts a giraffe. These panels clearly indicate the trade that Odisha used to do with Africa.
There are hundreds of ancient grand temples in India which surprise even modern engineering and science with their unique structure, the secrets of Konark Sun Temple are also similar, which are very intriguing. The doors of the temple are closed for more than 118 years.
When the temple started deteriorating due to many attacks and natural disasters, in 1901, then Governor John Woodburne raised the walls at the four doors of the Jagmohan Mandap and completely filled it with sand. So that it remains safe and does not get affected by any disaster.
This work took three years and in 1903 it was completely packed.
Many times the visitor does not know that Jagmohan Mandap, an important part of the temple, is closed.
Later, on many occasions, the archaeologists told the need to see its inside and also talked about making a plan to extract the sand.
Recently, the team of CBRI has done endoscopy and taken photos inside the temple, and also made videos of it.
Study of photos and videos is going on. A copy of the report has also been sent to the headquarters of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Do you know that there is no such ritual of worship in Konark Sun Temple!!
King Narasimhadeva is believed to have set a deadline for the construction of the temple, but the lodestone, known as Dadhi Nauti, was a stone weighing about 52 tonnes, which could not be found even after repeated attempts. 1200 workers failed to install it. Suddenly, a child named Dharmapada appeared, claiming to be the son of Bishu Maharana (the architect of the Sun Temple) and who took the responsibility of saving the lives of 1200 workers. To save the lives of 1200 laborers, he jumped from the top of the temple into the Chandrabhaga river to change the arrogance of the king. People believe that the 12-year-old boy was the Sun God himself, and since then worship rituals have not been performed at the Konark temple.
One of the most incredible beliefs of this temple is that the idol of the Sun God was suspended in the air due to the use of magnets during its construction. As you enter the main temple, you will see a tall idol hanging in the air. How this happened remained a mystery for years. Konark was surrounded by magnetic fields, this could be one of the reasons for the idol hanging in the air.
Many experts believe that a "lodestone" stone was installed inside this temple which works as a natural magnet, due to this "lodestone" a huge magnet idol of Lord Surya installed inside Konark Sun Temple is always in the air. It was no less than a miracle in itself.
Different people now tell different stories as to what happened to this magnet, and where it is now is still a mystery.
The most popular theory is that the temple was originally located on the seashore, but as time passed, the sea level receded and the temple was moved several kilometers from the coast.
According to folklore, the magnetic attraction of the stone was so strong that it used to disturb the compasses of ships passing through the area. This made navigation more difficult for the sailors. Supposedly, Portuguese sailors took this magnet and the idol of Lord Surya with them from the temple to save their ships, leaving the Konark Sun Temple magnet out of sight.
Now the Sun Temple is located 2 km away from the sea, but in olden times, it was much closer. So, the temple was used by European sailors as a navigational point. They symbolized it as the Black Pagoda because of its dark color and its magnetic power, which was used to draw ships ashore and destroy ships.
According to some historians, the temple was destroyed due to natural causes, while some believe that the temple was deliberately destroyed by Muslim invaders, mainly by General Kalapahad of the Gour Sultanate. Whatever be the reason, the temple suffered a lot of destruction between 1556 and 1800.
During the last phase of the 18th century, an ornate pillar named the Aruna Stambha was transferred from the Konark Sun Temple to the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, which is still present there. The existing part of the temple was partially restored by the archaeological teams of the British era.
Is Konark Sun Temple haunted?
A mystery is that many devadasis used to spend the night inside the temple hall before or after their performances. As a result, when Portuguese sailors attacked the temple in an attempt to remove the magnet, they destroyed most of the temple. Many Devadasis were killed during this attack. The local people around tell that when the Sun God sleeps or there is sunset in Konark, people hear voices of some girls inside the temple talking and grunting, it seems like they are running from behind.
Even after much research, this mystery of Konark Sun Temple remains unsolved.
According to some experts, the temple suffered a lot due to strong earthquakes, thunder, or lightning. However, there is no evidence of earthquakes of such a large scale in this region. Also, no thunder or lightning could enter the temple walls, which are 20–25 feet thick. However, there is no historical proof of all this information!!
The history, mysteries, and interesting facts of Konark Sun Temple make it a unique and unforgettable experience. As a testimony to ancient Indian architecture and engineering, it forms an important part of Indian rich cultural heritage.