Sun Temple- Sheer poetry in stone
The temple was built in the 13th Century by the King Narasimha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. It took twelve hundred gifted sculptures under the aegis of Bisu Moharana – the head architect – twelve years to build the temple.
The Sun Temple at Konark is the pinnacle of Kalinga school of Architecture- the chariot shaped temple is adorned with twelve pairs of elaborately carved gigantic wheels- the famous Konark Chakra. The Chariot is driven by seven horses.
The temple is also a testament to the scientific advancement of the country at that point of time. The temple has been carefully oriented towards the east so that the first ray on sun falls on the entrance of the temple. The wheels of the temple are sundials which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute including day and night.
The temple being an important landmark in the coastal voyage of the European sailors was christened as 'The Black Pagoda' by them.
Legend of Dharmapada
Any write up on the Sun Temple is incomplete without the mention of the boy wonder and his supreme sacrifice.
The completion of the temple is a part of folklore- after toiling day and night for twelve long years Bisu Moharana and his team couldn’t complete the temple- the only stumbling block being the crown stone. After repeated failures, King Narasimha Deva I could wait no longer- in his frustration he issued an order to complete the temple in three days or he will issue a death warrant for all the twelve hundred artisans.
In the meantime, Bisu Moharana’s son Dharmapada arrived at the site. Dharmapada hadn’t seen his father who left home when Dharmapada was still inside his mother’s womb. Coming to know about the situation young Dharmapada started working with his father and soon came up with a solution to place the Crown stone. His solution worked and the temple was finally completed much to relief and jubilation amongst the artisans. However, it soon dawned on them that they might still be sent to the gallows if the king comes to know that a twelve year-old boy could provide a solution where twelve hundred master artisans have failed.
Sensing the threat to his father’s life and that of his men, at the stroke of dawn Dharmapada plunged into the water from the top of the temple and drowned to his death. Thereby saving twelve hundred lives in the process.
Legend of the magnet
The temple was constructed in the sea of Bay of Bengal. However since then the sea has receded by 5 KM.
It is Believed that a huge 53 ton Magnet was placed at the top which held the structure together. There are various theories as to who removed that magnet as it played havoc with the mariners compass and led to many ship wrecks, some say its the sailors, some say invaders, once the magnet was removed the structure became unstable and eventually collapsed. The magnet at the top held the temple structure together along with the 10 tonne magnet at the bottom. The main idol of the sun god used to oscillate in the air due to these two magnets. However historians claim to have sufficient doubts to rule out the existence of the magnet at the Sun Temple, Konark
Whereabouts of the main idol of Sun God
Due to repeated attacks by invaders between 1568 AD till 1753 AD, the temple was desecrated further. It is believed that the priests of Konark hid the main idol of Sun God to protect it. The Sun God idol on display at the New Delhi museum is believed to be the main idol. The Jagannath temple in Puri also houses one of the idols of the Sun God of Konark.
Around Sun temple
The museum showcases archaeological findings from the Sun Temple Site at Konark and i is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
Timings - 10 am to 5 pm
The museum remains closed on Fridays
Entry fee- Rs 5/person
The entry is free for children up to 15 years of age
Just a few metres ahead of the Sun Temple, Odisha Tourism and Department of Textile have come up with a Delhi Haat style property called "Urbaan Haat"
There are about thirty six stalls created to showcase the handicraft and handloom items of Odisha- but as of date only a handful of shops are operating and the place is yet to take off.
Chandrabagha Mela is held on the 7th day of the full moon fortnight in the month of January. This is the second largest festival in terms of congregation of people after the Rath Yatra in the state.
According to the legend- Chandrabhagha was a daughter of a sage, The Sun god "Surya" fell in love with her and wanted to marry her but Chandrabhagha spurned the offer. This enraged Surya and he began chasing her, Chandrabhagha ran for her life and finally jumped to her death in the river. As a tribute to Chandrabhagha's sacrifice people take a dip in the river and offer their prayers.