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Sun Temple, Konârak
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 13th century
Date of Inscription: 1984
Location: Asia, India, State of Orissa, Puri District
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Description: The temple at Konarak, bathing in the rays of the rising sun as it sits on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, is a monumental representation of the sun god Surya's chariot. The 24 wheels of the chariot are bedecked with symbolic motifs and it is pulled by a team of six horses. This site, one of India's most famous Brahman sanctuaries, was built in the 13th century. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
  Konarka (Sanskrit: कोनार्क) is a small town in the state of Orissa, India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometres from Bhubaneswar. It is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most important Brahman sanctuaries and is a World Heritage Site. It takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The entire complex was designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels. The entrance is guarded by two lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body. The temple symbolises the majestic stride of the Sun god. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata Mandir. This is where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns. There are also human, divine and semi-divine figures in sensuous poses. The poses contains couples in various amorous poses, and are derived from the Kama Sutra. The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: "here the language of stone surpasses the language of man." Konark is also home to an annual dance festival, held every December, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Orissa, odissi. Besides Konark, there is also another sun temple in Orissa called Biranchi khetra (Biranchi Narayan Temple) in Buguda, Ganjam District, Orissa. Sun Temple, Modhera is a sun temple in Gujarat, created by raja Bhimdev of Solanki dynasty. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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