The Sun Temple of Konark marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of life all it’s wondrous variety. There is an endless wealth of decoration from minute pattterns in bas-relief done with a jeweller’s precision to boldly modelled free standing sculptures of exceptionally large size. Under the crackling wheels of past events , the Sun Temple has lost its main sanctuary but the remaining structure and the ruins arounds testify till today the boundless creative energy of Odhissan artistes and their impressive contribution to the treasury of Indian Art and building technique. Standing majestically on the sandy coast of the Bay of Bengal, the porch, in its solitary grandeur is an eloquent testimony of a gracious and mysterious past. Dedicated to Sun God, this temple was constructed by Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty was dazzling supreme in the political firmament of India.
FAME OF THE SUN TEMPLE
That the fame of the this temple as a wonderful monument has spread far beyond the limits of Odhissa in the sixteen century is amply borne out not only by the great Vaishnava Saint Chaitanya’s (AD-1486-1533) visit to the place but also by the following pithy description which appeared in the A’in-i-Akbari of Abu’l-Fazl, the famous chronicler of the court of Akbar (AD-1556-1605).
Near Jagannath, is a temple dedicated to the Sun. Its cost was defrayed by twelve years revenue of the province. Even those whose judgement is critical and who are difficult to please stand astonished at its sight.
ARCHITECTURAL GLORY OF THE SUN TEMPLE
The Sun Temple built in the thirteenth century was conceived as a gigantic chariot of Sun God, with twelve pairs of exquisitely ornamented wheels pulled by seven pairs of horses. Its fine traceries and scroll work , the beautiful and natural cut of animal and human figures, all give it a superiority over other temples. The chief quality is its design and architectural details. The Sun temple belongs to the Kalinga School of Indian Temples with characteristic curvilinear towers mounted by Cupolas. In shape, the Temple did not make any major departure from other sikhara temples of Odhissa. The main sanctum which (229 ft. high) was constructed along with the audience hall (128 ft. high) having elaborate external projections. The main sanctum which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off. The Audience Hall survives in its entirely but of the other two viz the Dancing Hall and the Dining Hall, only small portions have survived the vagaries of time. The Temple compound measures 857 ft. by 540 ft.