Konark Sun Temple-Orissa

According to legend, the Konark Sun Temple was built by Samba, son of Lord Krishna. He was afflicted by leprosy and, after 12 years of severe penance, he was cured by the Sun God, Surya. It is believed that Samba then built Konark Sun Temple in honour of the Sun God. Historians, however, feel that the temple that stands today was built by Narsimha Deva of the Ganga dynasty around 1250 AD. The entire temple is in the form of a chariot to the Sun God, pulled by seven horses. The seven horses typically and scientifically represent seven colours (VIBGYOR) in a sun ray. The cult of the Sun God had originated in Kashmir around 8th century and spread to eastern India as well. The Konark Temple was built during the period when the cult was at its peak.

On the shores of the Bay of Bengal, stands a magnificent stone temple built with such a precision and skill that the rays of the rising sun strike its main entry at the dawn. This is the Konark Sun Temple. The temple is built to resemble the Sun God's chariot. The word 'konark' is a combination of two words, 'kona' meaning corner, and 'arka' meaning sun. It has 24 wheels with spokes sculpted with symbols that represent the cycle of the seasons and the months. There are seven stone horses that appear to be pulling the chariot. However, the rest of the temple follows the plan of traditional Orissa temples. The exquisite carvings on the outer walls and the free standing sculptures make this temple truly a tribute to the artisans of Orissa.

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