Trip report: Konark, Bhubaneshwar and Chilika

#1 Feb 10th, 2012, 15:29
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Continued from the first part of this trip which was described here:

The hirakhand express pulled into Bhubaneswar station without a significant delay on the 28th of December 2011. I had slept remarkably well in the three tier Air-Con compartment (something I usually am not able to do on long journeys in any form – being over six feet tall and reasonably broad).

I do not remember much about the journey through the night of the 27th December except that my cold (that I had contracted in Kanger Valley National park) was much better and that a co-passenger had misinformed me that no dinner will be available on board. The latter is partially true, there is no pantry car onboard which is surprising given the length – 780 kms – and the duration (nearly seventeen hours) of the journey. A ‘biryani seller’ did get onboard from Laxmipur Road (around 8 pm) and sold spicy biriyani with even spicier gravy. I suppose that would have helped with the cold and cough as well. The train was almost empty till Rayagada junction (10 pm) and then filled up to capacity. I missed all the scenic sights of the hills and the tunnels as it was dark already.

Bhubaneswar station had a vibe that I cannot quite describe and it is there in most of the city as well. Perhaps because it is not too far from the coast, the weather was much nicer and it was a welcome change to get rid of the many layers I had been wearing through my bastar adventure. There was vegetarian south Indian food on the station and I enjoyed a large plate of idlis for Rs 15/-, crispy vadas and fresh filter coffee.

This part of my trip was courtesy a very good friend at work who was also well networked in the city of Bhubaneswar. His friend who has some businesses in the city had agreed to loan a car for me for this duration of my vacation. It was the make of the car that wasn’t clear till I reached. In November the discussion was that I’d get a Mahindra scorpio ( a good sized Indian make SUV), then it was changed to an alto ( a Japanese Subcompact), to a bajaj pulsar bike (which I had to explain to him, very politely, wasn’t a car).

Finally, what I received the keys to, when I reached his office in Bhubaneswar was a slightly beat up Suzuki esteem (a Suzuki compact car). The car had done about forty thousand kilometers on the odo and must have seen an accident (it was in a non-factory standard two-tone paint of white and blue). There was a stereo, it just didn’t work.

Still, I was very happy to be able to drive around again after a gap of ten days. I suppose when you live in an automobile oriented society (that many of Indian cities have fast become over the years) you do start feeling ‘out of control’ when deprived of a self driven car for a few days.

So I drove out of the very uppity Forest Park area in Bhubanewar (just 2 kms out of the railway station and full of charming bungalows) and promptly got lost.

Two good cups of tea, a tank full of petrol and a face-wash from a handpump by the roadside later I found myself at Dhauli Hill – the site of a 1970’s shanti stupa (peace memorial) built by the Nippon kalinga foundation. They have also built this imitation Ashokan pillar.

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There was something a lot older to explore there, though … over two millennia old.

In the year 269 B.C., Emperor Ashoka ascended the throne of Magadha – the most powerful empire in Ancient India of that time. For the next eight years, he continued to expand his reign- from the Brahmaputra river in the east to the Persian kingdom (modern Iran) in the west – well over the mighty Indus. His northern boundary had reached a geographical barrier in the form of the Pamir Knot and yet the southern one suffered from a wall not made by nature, but by man - the insubordinate kingdom of Kalinga.

This feudal kingdom – a feudatory of the predecessor dynasty of Magadha – the nandas, stood independent through the Mauryan reign that Ashoka’s grandfather had established over Pataliputra, the capital of Magadha.

So Ashoka, in his ambitious state of mind waged war from 262 B.C. till 261 B.C. At the end of the war ChandaAshoka (Ashoka the murderer– as he was then known), stood by these very hills near modern Bhubaneswar in a philosophical state of mind, troubled no doubt by the sight before his eyes.

His army of four hundred thousand had taken well over one hundred thousand lives from Kalinga including many of her civilians in a feat of blood-thirst not seen before in Ancient India. The Daya River that flows at the foot of the hills was red with blood for many days.

‘Devanampiya Piyadassi’ (lit: beloved of the gods and ‘he who regards everyone with affection’) was filled with deep remorse and vowed to follow and further the path of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Ahimsa’ actively from then onwards. It was with these feelings that he ordered the building of his rock edicts here. From then on, Chanda-Ashoka was known as DhammaAshoka (Ashoka – the follower of Dhamma)

The rock edicts at the Dhauli hills are one of the thirty three that dot the Indian subcontinent and describe the Emperor’s moral percepts and his affinity for ‘Dharma’ (the concept as described in Buddhism). The edicts are numbered one to ten, and then two special rock edicts and finally number fourteen (number thirteen is left out on purpose as it described the carnage in the Kalinga war). Edict number 9 advises morality and liberality to brahmanas and sramanas – thus making clear Ashoka’s stance towards the two other sramanic sects prevalent in India at that time, Jainism as well as the Ajivikas (A sect founded at the same time as Jainism and Buddhism but one that does not survive today). This was indirect evidence on the historicity of Jainism its prominence in kalinga at that time. I was to find more evidence of the same in another monument a few days later.

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The edicts are etched on a single rock of about 12 feet width by 8 feet high and perhaps 4 feet depth that is topped by a finely carved elephant statue that symbolizes ‘Gajottama’ – the best of elephants – the form in which Buddha is supposed to have entered his mother’s womb.

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Today, the edicts are shielded from lovelorn couples and other graffiti artists as well as the elements by a concrete and glass enclosure. The elephant is exposed to the elements and faces a sizeable ficus bengalinesis tree (known as a bodhi tree in Buddhist literature).

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The area behind the rock is occupied by a finely maintained garden. It is a very peaceful setting indeed for a site that saw a great war.

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From here, I drove over to the Dhauli stupa – and this proved to be an expensive mistake as far as the time available to me for this trip goes. There was no peace on the pagoda – only a severe traffic jam of vehicles and humans at every step. Parking was a struggle and overall, the place would probably be a fantastic visit on a quiet day but was certainly sub-par on the day I visited. There were more crying babies and happy schoolchildren per square inch than anywhere else on my trip (see below).

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Dhauli does have some fine sculptures that depict the life of the Buddha (the color of the sculptures is more due to dust – the statue of Buddha is white marble)

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It also has a few interesting signs that it was built by the Japanese (both seen below).

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Around twelve thirty, I drove on to my first main attraction for this trip … the great Sun Temple of Konarak ….
Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Aug 24th, 2012 at 16:41..
#2 Feb 11th, 2012, 21:39
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A Dash of Color

I left Dhauli shortly after half past twelve in the afternoon and started driving towards Konark via Pipli. I actually didn’t realize that I was close to Pipli till I saw a single shop to my left. It was full of the famed Odisha appliqué work that people of Delhi have gotten used to seeing every year in Surajkund and many other crafts promotion fairs that are held here.

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A few pieces were unsual though – such as the weaver bird nests (collected from the fields of the primarily agrarian Odisha) decorated with faux birds.

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Very close to this shop – just a few feet before was a modern temple. There were some interesting lions guarding the gate (below).

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The lintel of the maingate showed the hindu monkey-god hanuman in various poses. It was worth looking at again (below) and I felt compelled to explore this temple a bit more. It proved to be very rewarding indeed.

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Though the temple boasted of no historical value, the walls from the inside were adorned with over one hundred scenes done as bas-relief murals in lime mortar and painted over.

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Great Indian epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana have been portrayed in their entirety on the walls and the depictions spill over on the walls to the outside. Seen below is the part where Bhishma Pitamaha was provided a bed of arrows by Arjuna, the third pandava during the eighteen day war.

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There were scenes from the puranas (as i recall the friendly pujari telling me) as well (such as the one seen below).

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Finally, each of the twelve pillars of the mandapam was adorned on four sides by a beautiful woman in various sringaar mudras(see below for one gazing at her face in a mirror while applying vermillion) – they were so life-like!

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After this short stop over I continued to drive on and found myself at a T-junction where the road turned left for Konark and continued straight to Puri. Any second thoughts I had regarding whether I should visit puri on that day or not were completely dispelled by the volume of traffic coming from Konark and turning towards Puri.

I swung left ….
Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Feb 12th, 2012 at 13:23..
#3 Feb 12th, 2012, 15:44
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By the Chandrabhaga

After another hour’s drive cutting across some lush paddy fields and coconut palm lined roads, I found myself somewhere in the vicinity of the Konark village. By this time, as I hadn’t had time for lunch that day, and it was nearly half past two, I was famished. I started looking for a fresh coconut seller or even some chai-wallah but there were none to be found.

Moving on, I noticed a couple buses from a college busy disgorging passengers in the middle of no-where and felt that there should be a rest-stop or perhaps a place to eat. So I pulled up my car and parked on the right of the road opposite to where the two buses were standing in front of a raw brick wall. I walked over and between the two buses and came face to face with a modern but gorgeous Nataraja statue. The idol was over fifteen feet high (see the palm trees at the back and side) and was constructed of bronze.

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This is a ten armed kalinga interpretation of the nataraja (the traditional chola interpretation is four-armed) and while this statute is modern and has many differences from its Chola counterpart, it was a superb piece. The snake is lifted by Shiva as opposed to it being wrapped around his waist as in Chola iconography and the demon is much larger than the Tamil variant. The fire in the palm was the only clearly common element.

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I was to learn later that the Nataraja is an integral part of Kalinga art and sculpture and while Rajendra Chola (son of the great Rajaraja Chola) did conquer kalinga, the nataraja depictions that are well over two hundred years older may be seen in the Parsurameswar temple. The Kalinga nataraja is also different from the Chola or Tamil Nataraja in proportions and elements depicted.

Most people were content getting as close as possible (and hence the fence around it constructed by the temple authorities) and getting a few photos taken. It was a crowded spot and I left quickly after drinking some water.

A half hour later, I had passed by the Sun temple, not stopping there but saving the first sight for a better hour (post sunset or early morning) and also because at that time, all my luggage was in the car and I had to find a place for the night.

The village of Konark is remarkably compact and very peaceful. After the tour-buses leave (around 4 in the afternoon these days) it gets quiet too. I found a nice room in Labanya Lodge with a double bed, good clean bathroom with hot shower and cable tv. The owner is a helpful chap and lives on premises (though his sense of color is a bit off – see photo below). The prices vary by the kind of room selected but the one concession I was able to get for staying single is that my checkout would be 24 hours (I was past three when I had checked in).

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After some rest and a shower, I drove over to the ASI museum opposite the Konark temple. Photography is not permitted inside the museum but I’d recommend it to everyone with an interest in history and especially those who’d like their konark visit to be more than a photo-tour. The museum houses many pieces of sculpture that had fallen off the temple (the sun temple was re-discovered in 19th century by British army officers. There are some photographs of late 19th and early 20th century that show the temple as little more than a heap of stones half buried in the sand and overgrown with large banyan trees. What I didn’t like about the museum is that there’s no audio guide nor are the descriptions adequate for the kind of sculptures present inside the premises. Still, it is worth the time and also I was able to buy the ASI world heritage series publication that covered Konark, Puri, Bhubaneswar and also included an excellent map of the area – this proved very useful over the next 3 days.

I was eager to hit the beach – it would have brought my trip (starting with Amarkantak- a hill station at a height of a thousand metres a week ago) a full circle in some ways. So I drove the 3 kms to the Chandrabhaga beach. The beach is unlike many I’ve visited. Casuarina trees line it and the access head is fairly narrow. For some reason, all the two hundred and fifty visitors that day chose to stay in a close huddle of no more than a couple hundred metres. Thus, I had to walk very little to enjoy some solitude. It was scenic indeed!

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This joy was short lived as the cloud cover grew thicker and the waves wilder. The air was cold and so I left.

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I was also somewhat weary from the entire day’s driving (though very happy to have made it this far) and found some shacks to have a snack and some tea. There were two in the parking lot, one was selling fresh ‘gulgula’ – an orissan sweatmeat made of semolina flour, mildly sweet and deep fried. It’s very light and the consistency like a freshly done medu vada but softer and sweet. I also tried some rasabali (my favorite orissan dessert) – that’s like the north Indian rasmalai but a key difference is that the balls are fried and are a dark brown color. The milk of the dessert is also heated longer than the one that goes in rasmalai. An variant of the rasagulla was also available – it was light brown in color. I couldn’t take pictures of any as the sweets rapidly went sliding down in my mouth!

Satiated, I drove back to the lodge and then parked my car there for the night. It was nearly sunset and time to go over to the temple for a visit when it is lit. My first impression of the temple was how well it deserves to be in the Unesco list and how much of a wonder it really is. The scale combined with the realization that I was looking at something built in the thirteenth century when no modern methods of construction (no cranes, forklifts, concrete, not even cement!) were available did make me wonder how the architects, masons and the king himself didn’t step back from what they had set out to do. Every angle I captured made me think that those must have been a really resolute set of people – truly determined.

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I didn’t hire a guide this evening; two approached me including one that claimed he had descended from a family of masons who built the temple. Thanks to his lineage he was, by his own claim, entitled to a hundred and fifty rupees (as against a charge or Rs one hundred that the ASI approves of). The other one didn’t have the authentic card that the survey provides. I finally met Mr Narsing Nayak who had the requisite identification and seemed like a genuine fellow. I had to convince him a bit to show up early enough the next morning (at seven am) before the crowds start squatting over every inch of this sandstone marvel.

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I took a walk around the temple leisurely, capturing a bit and just wondering more and more – all my reading about the temple and the dose of history that the museum had imparted just failed to add up to the sense of awe that I was experiencing then. The yellow floodlights definitely added to the color of the stone and it was much more peaceful than it normally is during the day.

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As the night-watchmen started shooing out the last of the visitors outside the temple complex (they whistle real loud) around 8 pm, I climbed up one of the stone platforms to the side and captured this shot.

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It was past 8 pm when I sat down under the large banyan tree (next to the natya mandapa – the dancing hall) and it started drizzling. So I went back to the lodge and joined an Indian gentleman living in Italy and a Scottish-Finnish woman for dinner that evening at a restaurant in the village. They had some plans for the New Year eve to get together on the Chandrabhaga beach and were generous enough to invite me….
I drifted into a drunken stupor like sleep out of exhaustion that night. It had been an amazing day – my first day in Odisha.
Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Feb 12th, 2012 at 15:47.. Reason: clarity
#4 Feb 14th, 2012, 18:41
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Sunrise at the Sun Temple

On the twenty ninth of December, I woke up early – it was still dark outside and the entire management of labanya lodge (that comprised Tutuji the owner and a man Friday) were sound asleep. Luckily, my room had an instant electric geyser. It is on a trip like this through the jungles and villages of Bastar did I really get to appreciate little conveniences of modern living like a hot shower. It certainly helped me wake up to my fullest extent before six in the morning.

I had to wake up the owner to get the gate unlocked and literally ran to the temple complex from to find a completely deserted ticket window. I bought my ticket and excited, on being able to beat the tourist crowd that would soon start pouring over by the busloads, ran to the main entrance of the Konarak temple. At half past six it was still beautifully empty – the way I wanted to see it (see below for the entrance – the nara-gajasimha statues are prime target for people to pose next to).

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From the nata-mandira (dancing hall building), devoid of people in the frame, I captured a single shot (unfortunately hazy due to the cloudy morning) of the nata-mandira in front and the jagamohana (assembly hall or hall for common worship). Seen below the Jagamohana (in color) as viewed from the nata-mandira (in B/W)

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As such, the Sun temple of Konarak or Konark as it stands today is a breathtaking empty shell of its former glory during the middle ages. The temple is the culmination of five centuries of successive advancements in temple building in kalinga (the earliest specimen of this style I was to see in two days’ time at the Parsurameswar temple in Bhubaneswar). Enough is available on the internet and in guide books about the story of Konarks construction and the conspiracy theories of its collapse including the existence of a lodestone – all that I will get to, somewhat later.

From the main entrance at the east, I kept walking southwards and was amazed (again) at the scale of the collapsed sanctuary. See below - an average Indian visitor is no more than half the wheel of Surya’s Chariot (the entire temple was conceived and completed as a twenty four wheel chariot pulled by seven horses)

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I reached a small brick temple discovered in 1959. This small temple, located at the very end (south west corner of the complex) is actually a vaishnavite temple and the one that I sadly forgot to capture due to my preoccupation with photographing the structure before people started crowding the frame. From here, though, I was able to get a photo of the temple complex and seen here are (in front) the subsidiary shrine of mayadevi, and then the collapsed sanctuary and (with scaffolding necessary to provide it strength) the Jagamohan . Combined with the time spent last evening, this walk-around did help me understand a bit about the structure that we see today. The collapsed sanctuary (or the main temple) is a rekha deul (curvilinear design temple in Kalinga architecture style) while the Jagamohan is a pidha deul (pyramidal roof design temple). All four structures (three of the main temple and one of temple 2) are labeled in the photo below.

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I continued to walk from the south west corner in the north east direction circling the mayadevi / chhayadevi temple (again sans a roof) and came across this lovely chlorite water spout fashioned as an alligator (called ‘makara’ in kalinga).

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The mayadevi temple complex is known as temple 2 by the ASI and this along with the brick temple (known as number 3 –the vaishnavite temple and the oldest in the complex) points to worship of deities other than the sun as a principal deity in the sun temple complex back in its heyday. Some say Mayadevi was the wife of Surya and others maintain that this was actually the original sun temple before temple 1 was constructed. A sun idol on the wall of the Mayadevi temple does lend credence to that theory.

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By this time, it was a bit past seven and I had to call Mr Nayak to figure out if he was going to show up. He took another thirty minutes during which I continued to explore and make sense of how the principles of the kalinga school of temple architecture were employed in the temple 1 and looking at the different colors of stones used. The dark green color is Chlorite, principally used in door frames and some sculptures, the light golden brown is Khondalite and the third – laterite is invisible to visitors (as it has been used in the foundation and as the support for the khondalite exterior). The subsequent two posts include descriptions of sculpture seen at Konarak that he helped me understand. I’ve also extensively referred to the ASI guide for Konarak bought from the museum and some documents from the internet.
Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Feb 14th, 2012 at 20:11.. Reason: correction
#5 Feb 14th, 2012, 18:50
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  • shahronakm is offline
Great trip report & great photos too.

#6 Feb 14th, 2012, 18:51
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  • sagarneel is offline
Beautiful photos, Vaibhav! Puri is one place that never seems to get old, no matter how many times you go there...and the Sun temple always impresses me with its architecture. I'll be glued to this thread.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid Albert Einstein

Trip reports:

Syalsaur/ Deoria taal/ Chopta trip report, West and South Sikkim trip report , Puri/ Konark trip report
#7 Feb 14th, 2012, 19:02
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Excellent travelogue, thanks for sharing

#8 Feb 14th, 2012, 23:07
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Thanks Ronak, Sagarneel and Alok - it was actually a pretty bad day for photography. It was cloudy due to the cyclone 'Thane' hitting further south along the coast (close to chennai) a few days ago ...
#9 Feb 15th, 2012, 00:06
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Viabhav, ur beautifully crafted tour report seem to have missed attention of IMers. Just don't worry abt response. Continue to post such good reports including good pics. Looking forward to more reports from you.
My Foreign Trips will have to wait, There is so much to See in here in INDIA itself

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#10 Feb 15th, 2012, 01:19
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From the daily life of tribal people in Bastar to history and architecture, your commentary has been fabulous. I am reliving the time I spent at Konark.

It was in 2008, I visited Konark in September and then Agra in October. And still now, the former attracts me more than the Jewel of Agra!

The night shots of the temple are great, specially because they were shot handheld.
"There is no happiness for him who does not travel ... Therefore, wander!" - Aitareya Brahmana, Rig Veda.

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#11 Feb 15th, 2012, 23:37
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Konarak- The Rise - post 1 of 2

The stone slab installed by the Archaelogical survey of India near the ticket window of the great Sun temple of Konarak, Odisha gives its history as well as talks to the early mentions of the significance of the sun god worship in this part of the country. A part of the following passage is gleaned from there:

A ‘Periplus’ is an ancient manuscript document that outlines the ports and the distances between them and was used by Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians to help with their navigation. The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, written in Greek and datable to roughly 60 A.D. mentions a port on the eastern coast of India by the name of Kainapara. This is interpreted to be Konarak. The name Konarak is supposedly derived from Kona - a Sanskrit word that means an angle or a corner and Arka, the Sanskrit word for Sun. What an apt place it is to conduct the worship of that great god of the Hindu and the Aryan pantheon – Sun.

The best known accounts of Sun worship are from civilizations other than Indian, and several of these accounts either predate the sun temple here or were contemporary with it. The Egyptians followed it to a much greater degree than ancient Indians and the Aztecs were known sun worshippers and they performed several sacrifices in honor of the Sun god and built huge pyramids as well..

In the time of the Aryans (more than a millennia before Christ), sun was not one deity – but many – referred to as ‘the Adityas’. In the RgVeda, sun is not mentioned in the form that is of interest to the Konark visitor – however, a god symbolizing one of the adityas, Savitr is referred to often and hyms in his praise were composed. The Gayatri Mantra, the most sacred of ancient hindu chants, the one mantra that predates the Shaivite and Vaishnavite traditions and is linked directly with the Aryans, is dedicated to Savitr. The mantra goes ‘Om Tat Savitur Varenyam”. Thus, for the ancient Indians, the Sun god was a very important god indeed – perhaps only second most after Indra (the king of gods).

Savitr, however, declined along with the other adityas and till today, is not worshipped directly. With the rise of Saivism, promoted by the Adi Sankaracharya in the mid to late eigth century, Surya, the medieval and modern incarnation of the Sun god was reduced to a regional culture. There are evidences of sun worship post this time as well including the sun temple at Modhera, datable to roughly the 11th century A.D. – yet the number of temples clearly denote that Sun’s heyday as a principal deity had been over for over a millennia at the time of the commencement of construction. Thus, when Narasimha dev chose Sun as the principal deity for Konarak, the local Brahmans resisted this choice and he invited the Magi sun worshippers of Iran to pray to the god. These are seen on this carved plate from the platform of the jagamohan (identifiable by the peculiar head-gear).

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The mid of the 11th century the land called Kalinga (modern Puri district was the epicentre) saw the supremacy of the Eastern Ganga dynasty - an offshoot of the great Cholas. King Narasimha Deva 1, ascended the throne as the fourth generation of this dynasty and thus, had seen a rule of well over two hundred years by the time of his coronation. He had under his control a prosperous port at this village as well visited by foreigners (evidenced by the gift of a giraffe to the king – seen below in the carving from the platform). Thus, funds were likely not a problem to undertake a project of this magnitude (a theory that seeks to explain the present state of the the temple is that it was never finished- which I find hard to believe).

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Given the resistance from the local Brahmins, why this temple was built, remains a mystery till date. There are many legends including the oft quoted legend of Samba, the son of lord krishna, conducting penance at this site for over twelve years. He did so to overcome his curse of leprosy, by invoking the sun god and hence built a temple here. However, the most likely reason for the construction was none other than two hundred years of prosperity that prompted the king to leave a marked, visible proclamation of the supremacy of his dynasty in the form of a monument. We see a visibly happy king and queen, supposedly narasimhadeva and his wife on this piece on the platform of the Jagamohan.

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Narasimhadeva ordered construction to commence in the year 1250 AD. It took 12 years and 1200 workers’s efforts to bring the heavy slabs of rough Khondalite through water channels (the temple is situated on the gorge of a dried river) and polish the surfaces so fine that only a drop of gum was sufficient to join one to the other. Only the most basic machinery such as planks, rope and pulley systems were available and hence the carvings that we see today are all believed to have been done in-situ.

Just like the commencement, another legend is associated with its completion. At the end of twelve years of constant labor, the king demanded that the temple be completed and worship commence. The workers faced a problem though - the keystone, to be fitted on the top of the sanctuary, could not be fitted. It is said that the adolescent son, Dharmapada, of the chief architect – Bisu Maharana offered a solution. The workers feared for their lives as what they couldn’t achieve in 12 years, a young boy of fourteen could achieve overnight. A buzz started floating in the village overnight that the child be killed to stop this news from reaching the king. Dharmapada, out of benevolence, is said to have committed suicide from jumping off the top of the Rekha Deul (the now collapsed sanctuary).

In the late thirteenth and entire fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Konarak is supposed to have been its peak. It was a great port – frequented by Mongols (many depictions of the short, stout people with features like them survive to this day on the platform) – see below.

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There were also Tibetans (see below), taller and leaner and always depicted as bald.

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Perhaps a few Han Chinese –recognizable by their characteristic beard (2nd below) visited as well. This gentleman is likely treating himself for a venereal disease!!

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Other foreign influence elements seen include a woman with platform shoes (below) – likely a courtesan depiction.

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There are other mythical creatures depicted such as nag-kanya (half serpent half woman).

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At the time of the construction and veneration, Tantric Hinduism was at its peak and there’re several depictions of the necessary rituals that a tantric must go through before he is admitted by the fraternity as one. Seen below is one tantric being stimulated by more than one woman. The interpretation (as shared by my guide) was if he were to go through this erotic exercise without peaking, he would be considered fit to be a tantric. A similar sculpture where more than one man attempts to arouse a woman is also seen.

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There’re also elements of daily life depicted – some of them mundane like this woman sacrificing a pig (perhaps for the kitchen).

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Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Feb 15th, 2012 at 23:39.. Reason: spelling....
#12 Feb 16th, 2012, 07:31
Join Date:
Jul 2005
Mumbai (Just Shifted)
  • harshad is offline
very good report. Has wealth of information for readers. Any more parts coming?
#13 Feb 16th, 2012, 09:53
Join Date:
Dec 2008
  • vaibhav_arora is offline
@ harshad - thanks for the kind words. There should be about 8-10 posts more to go I'd think (if u look @ the pace in bastar part of this trip)...I write slowly and am a bit under the weather right now...

@ biman - wholeheartedly agree on konarak comparing favorably with the taj. I suppose the element of mystery surrounding its construction, motive, the 'lost years' all add to it.......the night shots are passable for posting in threads but I'm sorely missing vr in the basic lens. ....
#14 Feb 16th, 2012, 12:14
Join Date:
May 2003
Northern California
  • wonderwomanusa is offline
Thanks so much for your trip report; you've given us so much great information! Did you ever get to Puri on this visit?
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#15 Feb 16th, 2012, 14:18
Join Date:
May 2008
New Delhi
  • sagarneel is offline
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post @ biman - wholeheartedly agree on konarak comparing favorably with the taj. I suppose the element of mystery surrounding its construction, motive, the 'lost years' all add to it.......the night shots are passable for posting in threads but I'm sorely missing vr in the basic lens. ....
The aura of the architecture wonderfully they had utilized the different positions of the sun to create the structure. Unfortunately, what we see now is only a small part of the temple...the actual temple (which is said to be much bigger in size) was destrayed by Kalapahad.

Yet, whatever remains, is breathtaking enough. Thanks a lot for the latest set of photos too....very good write-up and photos. Great job, Vaibhav.

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