30th December 2012
Driving on Puri-Konark road is a treat by itself. Cutting through Balukhand reserve forest, the road traverses next to the sea at several places.
Konark is undoubtedly known for its Sun Temple. Out of three main Sun Temples, the Konark Sun Temple is the most popular. The other prominent sun Temples being Modera in Gujarat and Marthand Sun Temple in Kashmir. Located at three different corners of India, I am happy that I had opportunity to visit all of them in a span of a year.
At the entrance of the Sun Temple is Nata Mandir. It was here where dancers used to perform for Sun God.
Look at this sculpture at the entrance of the Temple. A man is crushed by an Elephant which in turn is subdued by a lion.
There are two such sculptures at the entrance.
Even the carvings at Nata Mandir are very intricate.
The main Temple is gigantic which can only be experienced by standing in front of it. The entire Temple is designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely carved wheels.
The Temple was built in 1250 AD by Ganga King Narasimhadeva I.
The wheels are the central attractions here. The carvings in the spokes of the wheel indicate the activities performed by a human being during the course of the day.
The Temple has several erotic sculptures similar to Khajuraho.
The sculpture of the Sun God.
Several theories exist for the fall of this Temple. The most prominent theory blames Kalaphad, a Muslim general who invaded Orissa in 1508.