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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sun Temple at Konark

Declared as the world heritage site in 1984, Sun temple at Konark in Orissa is situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. The 18th century temple is made in the shape of a huge chariot believed to be a likeness of God Surya's chariot. It is so positioned that it gets bathed in the rays of the rising sun. It has 24 wheels that are ornamented with symbolic designs and is led by a team of seven horses. It is said to be India's one of the most popular sanctuaries for Brahmans. The temple is said to mark the culmination of Orissan temple architecture and is one of the most wondrous specimens of the world's religious architecture. It was build by King Narasimhadeva in the honor of the sun god, Surya, a popular Hindu deity in the Vedic period.The 'Natya Mandir' or the Dance Hall in the temple is the most glorious example of the architectural excellence of the times. The seven horses and 24 wheels symbolize the divisions of time. It main tower is 227 ft high. Originally, there were 22 shrines inside its premises but only two of these subsidiary shrines exist today. There are intricate carvings on the walls and people to decorate their homes often use the likeness of the wheels of the chariot. These sculptures often depict court life, hunting, scenes and celestial deities in most graceful forms. Some of the sculptures are also inspired by Kamasutra and are quite erotic. Tourists also love to visit the Archaeological Museum here. The temple looks quite beautiful in the setting sun.

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