Sun temple of Konark, situated in the Konark town under Puri district of Odisha, is one of the greatest architectural works of India which intrigues not only Indian but also people from all over the world. The architectural grandeur that today stands about 100 foot (30 meter) high was believed to be over 200 foot (61 meter) once. Built in 13th century CE (year 1250) it is situated 35 kilometres (22 miles) northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha.
Who made Konark Sun Temple and Why
Konark Sun temple was made by King Narasimhadev I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The exact reason for why King Narasimhadeva built this temple is unknown but may historians believe that it might be to commemorate his conquest over Islamic invasion or gratitude for wish fulfillment. It could have been made simple to show his devotion to Surya Dev (Sun God). Homage to all sects of Hinduism can be seen in this temple. While the lower side is carved with sculptures of various dieties, people doing daily chorus, animals some of these being quite strange, and erotic sculptures from Kamasutra the upper level has larger and more significant images. Sculpture pertaining to Shaktism, Vaishavism and Sahivism can be seen at the higher side including Goddess Durga as Mahishasur Mardini killing the shape shifting buffalo, Lord Vishnu in his Jagannatha form and Lord Shiva in his Shivling form (though it is largely damaged).
Why the Sun temple made at Konark
According to Hindu mythology Surya dev (Sun God) is believed to be born in Kalinga, that is, present day Odisha. The work Konark is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Kona’ (kon) meaning corner or angle and ark meaning Surya dev (Sun God). People generally think why it is referred to as a Kona or angle the reason for this being Konark temple being a part of the Holy triangle of Kalinga. The holy triangle of Kalinga comprise of Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri, Lingraj temple of Bhubaneshwar and Sun temple of Konark, thus explaing the meaning of Kona that is angle of this triangle.
The mystery of the Sun temple of Konark
This ancient temple of India which is famous worldwide have a few mysteries associated with it as well.
The intricate architecture & How the heavy crown stone was placed ?
Konark sun temple originally was made in the form of a huge chariot beautifully ornamented with 24 elaborately carved wheels which are nearly 12 feet (3.7 meter) pulled by a set of seven horses. When viewed from inland it presented a beautiful view of the chariot shaped temple appearing to be emerging from the depths of blue sea carrying the Sun during the sunrise.
This UNESCO world Heritage site that is located around 67 kilometres from the capital of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar is made up of stones interlocked by metals and the entire metal skeleton was believed to be held together by a huge magnet weighing more than 5 tons. The fitting and finishing is so smooth that even now the joints are barely visible. For the construction of this grand piece of architecture three kind of stones were used namely, Chlorite, Laterite and Khondalite, none of which is available in its vicinity. How these huge stones were brought here still remains a mystery. Many people believe that the stones were brought from the hills of Kadamgiri and Udaigiri which are more than 100 kilometres from there may be using rivers and water channels or lever and pulleys but the exact method is yet unknown.
The planning and construction records of the temple have been preserved in the form of palm leaf manuscripts which makes this temple on of the very few such temples. These manuscripts are written in Sanskrit in Odia script. The crown stone known as Dadhi nauti was a lodestone weighing nearly 52 tons. Even after repeated efforts the 1200 workers were unable to place it. Every time they try to install it it will fall down. The legend of dharmpada says that it was installed by a 12 year old boy but how he installed it is still a mystery.
Where is the idol of the temple ?
It is said that the idol of Sun God that was placed in the temple made of Ashtdhatu (alloy of 8 metals) and lodestone and metals were so used in the construction of the temple that the idol used to float in the air without touching the ground. But we have only heard about this idol. There is no account of anyone seeing it. Not even any image of the deity or surya Dev (Sun God) has ever been found so what was its shape and size is not known and remains a mystery till today.
Where are the idol and the lodestone still remains mystery. It is often said that the Portuguese or the British removed the lodestone as the strong magnet used to create disturbance in the navigation of their ships but removing or demolishing such a huge lodestone without leave a trace seems quite difficult. However how the idol and lodestone were removed and by whom and if the floating idol was a reality or not still remains mystery.