KONARK SUN TEMPLE

THE SAGA OF SUN GOD PART 2

sun temple north east view

THE SUN WORSHIP IN KERALA

In the olden days, one of the inevitable duty assigned to grandma during afternoon hours was preparing the lamp for lighting the lamp at dusk. She rolls up cotton wicks and arranges them pairing and fills the lamp with honey bright Gingelly oil leaving the lamp near the Mutchu or Sreebhagavsthikkoodu. After putting wicks in the Nilavilakku, She sends reminders to us.

broken sculpture of the sun god

”Oh kids, don’t you know today the sun sets a bit early ” ?!.”.Get ready for that at least you to wash your feet and face.”. and to set off the dusk chanting .My grandma lights the lamp. “”Deepam…deepam ..deepam..”continually..announcing. It begins from Sreebhagavathikkoodu or Matchu where lamps and photographs of gods are kept reverently decorated by Rudraksha garlands canopied with the fragrance of incense sticks. ”Deepam,deepam.” She brings the lamp to outside passing through dark corridors .

the sculpture of the sun god

Elders got up holding hands together in respect..makes obeisance to the lamp. Nilavilakku is an open lamp with a base and a stand usually made of bell metal. The lamp sent out clear fragrant flames. The lighted lamp shaded by the palm fills itself with a glow.

the sculpture of the sun god

She puts the wicks anthithiri, wick of dusk in the stone lamps made in the shape of cobra hoods whichever fixed at the steps on the platform in the front yard..” Deepam,Deepam Deepam .”.. Grandma goes back and places the lamp Infront of photos of god’s.She lights other lamps of the house from the fire blessed by Surya..it is certain to her that the lamp has been lit from the sun’s light..that’s kept in the house until the sun comes to us next day

the sculpture of the sun god

In the olden days, the lamp might have been kept without putting it out. This is an informal ceremony and is done by a woman in Kerala ..since time immemorial. Similarly in the morning the lamp is lit and comes out with cautious steps to the porch. This could suggest that the light blessed by sun god is thankfully paid back before he springs up actively. Its a kind of sun god workshop prevailed in Kerala.

the sculpture of the sun god

SUN WORSHIP IN TAMILNADU

Among the Hindus of Southern India the eating of the new rice is the occasion of a family festival called Pongal. The new rice is boiled in a new pot on a fire which is kindled at noon on the day when, according to astrologers, the sun enters the tropic of Capricorn. The boiling of the pot is watched with great anxiety by the whole family, for as the way the milk boils, so will the coming year be.

sculpturses lion on an elephant ,entrance bhogamandapa

If the milk boils rapidly, the year will be prosperous; but it will be the reverse if the milk boils slowly.then every one partakes of it.oh ..this suggests that in southern India ..people worshipped the sun god .the guide stopped abruptly.

plinth structure near kitchen

“How wonderful it was. I was brought up atVelur..whenever we say Pongal that brings to my mind the village ,embanking Cauvery.Women wake up early and competing with the self-appointed alarm clock the village cockerel and purified the front yard with cow dung laced water before taking the help of a flickering lamp to realize meticulous Kolams with rice powder .

other structures in the south

We used to illuminate each of the kolams with brilliant yellow-orange pumpkin flowers representing the sun. The procession of singers would walk down the street leading to the Cauvery rendering devotional songs past fields rich with betel leaves, Agatha greens and plantain groves with bright yellow cigar ..I may join the group holding the sari of Sivakami Akka.

konark wheel

I may sing along justify if I knew the song. During the ninety-minute serenade around the village, the group would grow in strength before reaching the temple. Children would scramble on bitumen tree and pluck the leaves for prasadam. The priest would hold a shallow brass vessel filled with the hot pings and ladle out scoop after scoop. the leaves would singe when the hot pings fell on them and the scent that rose was enchanting.” Mani heaved a sigh of relief. He grew nostalgic.

sun image at Vaital temple Bhubaneswar

So sun god worship prevailed both in Kerala, Tamilnadu and other south Indian states.

Surya (also known as Aditya) is the Hindu god of the Sun. He is considered the creator of the universe and the source of all life. He is the supreme soul who brings light and warmth to the world. Each day he travels across the sky in his golden chariot pulled by seven horses and driven by red Aruna, a personification of Dawn. Still an important figure in Hinduism today, he is also a minor deity in Buddhism.

sun god at simhanath temple at Badamba

”The god’s most famous temple is at Konark in Orissa, north-east India but he was worshipped across the Indian subcontinent. we can trace sun sculptures throughout Odisha. .we can see them in Vaital temple,Bhubaneswar, Parshurameswar temple Bhubaneswar, Simhanath temple near Badamba near Cuttak, Varahi temple chaurahi,dist puri,Odisha” .

the sun god at Varahi temple at Chaurashi

”so sun worship originated in Odisha ” Mani attempted to conclude by generalising.

No,, No.If you think so its a big mistake.it is not originated in India. In the  Neolithic  age the concept of a “solar barge”, also “solar bark”, “solar barque”, “solar boat” and “sun boat”, a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a boat,is found in the later myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus”. Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as the sun-god and Horus as a god of the sky and Sun.” that tradition might have reached India through Iran.

SUNGOD IMAGE AT PARASURAMESWAR TEMPLE AT BHUBANESWAR

The influence of the ancient Iranian worship of Mithra is evident as early as the 1st century CE. Thereafter, North Indian temple images of Surya show him in typical northern dress, such as boots, and the girdle around the waist known as the abhyanga (Avestan avyonhana).

SOUTHERN SIDE

” Yes I have spotted in suns sculpture in Parasurameswar Temple in Bhubaneswar.” I supported the guide.”The Magas (Iranian priests, or Magi) were the special priests of the sun gods and were assimilated into the Hindu class structure as Brahmans. The temple constructed at Multan on the banks of the Chandra Bhaga River (modern Chenab River, now in Pakistan) was an important centre of the movement in the 7th century CE.” he countinued.

ELEVATION MAP OLD TEMPLE

Directly and materially linked to the Brahman beliefs, Konârak is the invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originating in Kashmir during the 8th century, finally reached the shores of Eastern India.

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Surya first appears in literature in the Rigveda, oldest of the Vedas sacred texts and composed between 1500 and 1000 BCE. The bringer of the Sun, Surya was thought to ride his chariot across the sky and defeat the demons of darkness. He is represented as such in a doorway relief at the 2nd-century BCE Buddhist cave temples and monk cells of Bhaja, Shunga in western India.

THE IMAGE OFSUN GOD

 The sun worship at Konark goes back to the puranic days known as Udayachala.It was one of the three important places of worship in india.One legend attributes construction of a sun temple at Konark to Samba.Samba was the son of lord Krishna.Madala panji mentions that a temple of Konarkadeva was built by kingPurandarakesari.

PLAN OF TEMPLE

The thirteenth-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in Orissa red sandstone (Khandolite),Chlorite and black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty.It is the present temple. How did they construct such a colosseum ? the three kinds stones used chlorine, granite, and chondrite were not available in the vicinity of Konark!!! the stones were probably transported long distances by rafts along rivers. The river Chandrabhaga, now dry probably served as the last an artery of transport.

THE REMAINING STRUCTURES

A team of twelve hundred masons under Bisu maharana completed the construction of the temple..At first, they must have heaped mud upto the size of the temple and they might have pulled large blocks the granite stones using elephants and pulleys, wooden wheels or rollers.after the erection the mountain of mud might have been removed.

PAINTING SHOWING THE CONSTRUCTION Courtesy Konark museum

Many historians hold the opinion that the construction of the Konark temple finished between 1253 and 1260 C.E. . Harshith Dev, the emperor of India, reconstructed the temple, bring the structure to the current earning UNESCO‘s designation as a World heritage. other adjoining monuments include Maya Devi temple , Vaishnava temple and seven structures.

Vaishnava temple,Mayadevi temple (Chaya temple)
  • Mayadevi Temple – Located west-southwest from the entrance of the main temple,[36] it has been dated to the late 11th century, earlier than the main temple.[37] It consists of a sanctuary, a mandapa and, before it, an open platform. It was discovered during excavations carried out between 1900 and 1910.
WALLS PULSATING WITH SCULPTURES
  • Vaishnava Temple – Located southwest of the so-called Mayadevi Temple, it was discovered during excavations in 1956. This discovery was significant because it confirmed that the Konark Sun Temple complex revered all the major Hindu traditions, and was not an exclusive worship place for the Saura cult as previously believed. there are seven other subsidiary structures which have been reduced to the plinths.
ROOF OF JAGAMOHANA
  • , This monument is found south of the bhoga mandapa (feeding hall). It, too, was discovered in excavations in the 1950s.

PILLARS BHOGA
  • It includes means to bring water, cisterns to store water, drains, a cooking floor, depressions in the floor probably for pounding spices or grains, as well several triple ovens (chulahs) for cooking.
  • other edifices include oblong plinth of six pillared mandapa,pancharatha structure.

navagraha panel

The Konark temple, known to sailors as the Black Pagoda,. They cursed the temple because their magneting needles always stood towarsKOnark instead of north,,Why is it so ?.The most popular theory associated with Konark temple is its magnets and the floating idol in the air. The uniqueness of the Sun Temple of Konark lies in the fact that it was built with an architectural setup of various magnets.

War stallion

During the construction of the main tower of the temple the artisans put an iron plate between every two stone pieces. There is a lodestone at the top of the temple was said to be a massive 52 ton magnet.

Tremendous iron bars

According to legend, the statue of the Sun God inside the temple was built of a material with iron content and was said to be floating in air, without any physical support, due to the unique arrangements of the top magnet, the bottom magnet and the reinforced magnets around the temple walls.

sculptures

The placement of the main temple and the Sun God had been aligned in such a way that the first ray of the Sun from the coast would cross the Nata Mandir (Dancing Hall) and would fall & reflect from the diamond placed at the crown of the Sun God.

temple from north west

where are they now? Every thing has been disappeared.except the magnetic iron bars ,,he pointed to a heap od big iron barswhich is exposed,,You go and check could you find any speck of rust on it, never.

How did it come to collapse, the deul ??

temple from north west

Some say that, he continued..

To save their shipping, the Portuguese voyagers took away the lodestone, which acted as the central stone, keeping all the stones of the temple wall in balance. Due to its displacement, the temple walls lost their balance and eventually fell down. But records of that occurrence, or of such a powerful lodestone at Konark, have never been found.

the sun god

the most popular theory about the root of the fall of Konark temple rests with the Kalapahad. According to the history of Orissa, Kalapahad invaded Orissa in 1508 C.E.. He destroyed Konark temple, as well as a number of Hindu temples in Orissa.

sculptures

The Madala Panji of Puri Jagannath temple describes how Kalapahad attacked Orissa in 1568. Including Konark temple, he broke most of the images in most of the Hindu temples in Orissa.

sculptures

Though impossible to break the Sun temple of Konark, with stone walls 20 to 25 feet thick, he somehow managed to displace the Dadhinauti (Arch stone) and thus weaken the temple leading to its collapse. He also broke most of the images as well as side temples of Konark.priests fled from Konark to puri keeping theddeeity at hand.

brilliantly carved walls

The Sun worship in the Konark temple, including pilgrimages, ended with the removal of the image from the temple. By the end of eighteenth century, Konark lost its glory, turning into to a dense forest, full of sand, filled with wild animals and the abode of pirates. Reportedly, even the locals feared to go to Konark in broad daylight.

temple in 1909

The black pagoda served as a striking landmark on the shallow coast of Odisha.consequently the Marine Board put forward amove to conserve the sun temple.in 1806second move for repairs was cropped up in 1838 after the demolition of Raja of the neighbouring principality of Khurda.

temple in 1909

Lt.Governer John Woodburn visited the site in December 1900. and conservation work started in full momentum,m. he initiated the launch of a well-planned campaign to save he temple to save the temple. the temple was given afresh lease of life after completing the repairing of ten years.

the sun temple

the sculptures on the temples have awed generations of people with their architectural brilliance and intricate car temples are built exactly as prescribed in the Shilpashastra, which are manuals for sculpture and Hindu iconography. The manuals prescribe among other things, the proportions of a sculptured figure, composition, principles, meaning, as well as rules of architecture. These cult images can also be seen carved as the Tirthankaras in the Jain museum.

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Surya Stele
the sun god

 he Sun Temple, Konârak is protected under the National Framework of India by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act (1958) and its Rules (1959). Other relevant protective legislation includes the Forest Act, Konârak Development Act and notified Council Area Act. Under the AMASR Act, a zone 100 metres outside the property and a further zone 200 metres outside the property constitute, respectively, prohibited and regulated zones for development or other similar activity that may have adverse effects on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property

All conservation programmes are undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India through its national, regional and local representatives. it was Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984,t is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture .