Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
Your interests (Optional)
This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Sign In  |  Sign up
Your Cart (0)
Best Deals
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
Books > History > Architecture > Konark (Monumental Legacy)
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Konark (Monumental Legacy)
Konark (Monumental Legacy)
Description
About The Book

Built by King Narashimha I in the mid-thirteenth century, the Sun Temple at Konark represents the climax of a thousand year evolution of Orissa temple construction. This book describes the numerous myths and theories on the construction, architectural features, Sculptural Programme, as well as the decorative elements of the temple ranging from the sacred to erotic, celestials, and scenes from everyday life.

Well illustrated with layout plans, maps, and photographs, this volume will be indispensable for general readers and informed tourists visiting the site. Students and scholars of history, cultural studies, and art and architecture will also find the work interesting.

Introduction

Historically the modern state of Orissa, situated on the Bay of Bengal on the northeast coast of India, has been noted as ‘a land of temples’, even in the writings of nineteenth-century scholars. James Fergusson for example, declared that ‘there are more temples now in Orissa than in all the rest of Hindustan put together’, while W. W. Hunter stated that ‘from end to end, it is one region of pilgrimage’. Its great sanctity is likewise extolled in various Sanskrit texts. In the Brahma Purana (26.39—40), when the sages ask Brahma about the most excellent place on earth, that bestows virtue (dharma), love (kama), wealth (artha) and salvation ( moksha) , and that is the most excellent of all holy centres, he particularly singles out Utkala (Orissa) and its four great religious centres: Konaditya (Konark, for the worship of Surya); Viraja (Jajpur, for the worship of Devi); Ekamra (Bhubaneswar, for the worship of Shiva); and Puri (for the worship of Vishnu), considering those who stay there to be dwellers of heaven while the sites themselves yield worldly pleasures and salvation on this very earth. In contrast to the other three religious centres, which are metropolitan areas, Konark is a remote site on a sandy beach near the mouth of the Chandrabhaga river, a dried-up tributary of the Prachi. This feature led Percy Brown to conjecture that the site was selected in order ‘that the practices so wantonly illustrated might be ceremoniously conducted by its addicts in an underworld of their own’. Whereas Bhubaneswar and Puri each have a multiplicity of temple complexes, Konark has a single temple complex. However, its dominating shrine, built by king Narasimha (CE 1238—64) of the Ganga dynasty and dedicated to the Sun god, is the largest temple constructed in Orissa. For its size, it has been considered to be ‘the most richly ornamented building—externally at least—in the whole world’. The overwhelming abundance of sculpture in no way overshadows the architectural splendour of the monument, but as noted by Ananda Coomaraswamy greatly enriches it: ‘it would be hard to find anywhere in the world a more perfect example of the adaptation of sculpture to architecture.’ Its beauty was admired even by the Muslim Abu’l Fazl who, in his Ain-i-Akbari (sixteenth century), remarked that ‘even those whose judgement is critical and who are difficult to please stand astonished at its sight.’

The Orissan style of architecture represents a unique regional variation of the Nagara (northern) style of the Hindu temple and displays its own nomenclature for architectural features. Three architectural orders described in the Vastu text, Bhuvanapradipa, that is, the rekha (with a curvilinear spire), the bhadra or pidha (with a pyramidal roof) and the khakhara (with an oblong bada and semi- cylindrical roof) are employed in various periods in Orissa for the deul (sanctum) of the temple complex. In its mature format however it is the rekha order that becomes the standard plan for this most sanctified part of the shrine while the pidha order becomes the standard plan for the jagamohana or front hall. The balance of these two contrasting superstructures, of a low pidha-deul as being subordinate to the higher rekha-deul, is peculiar to Orissa and greatly enhances the grandeur of the soaring curvilinear spire, as noted by Stella Kramrisch. A particularly distinctive feature of the Orissan temple, evident from the very beginning, is the overall clarity of the total design in plan and elevation. Each individual architectural unit is clearly defined as a self-containing element in the overall decorative programme. Each sculptural image is well contained within its pillar or niche boundaries, adhering closely to the surface. The pagas (vertical elements) that project from the exterior walls are usually designed as mundis (miniature shrines) or replicas of the temple itself, complete with niche and spire. These mundis function as an ornament to beautify the structure and at the same time act as a frame to house or display images of the various deities, Their niches, offsets, and recesses cast shadows that interact with the rounded contours of figure sculpture and the organic profusion of scroll motifs to produce an enmeshed framework of light and dark accents. As miniature replicas they perpetuate the image of the temple, both the terrestial dwelling place of the deity and literally a design of the cosmos, while their niches, Kramrisch adds, serve as windows or exits through which the divinity of the enshrined deity shines forth. The decorative motifs, in addition to beautifying the structure, serve symbolically as auspicious images to protect the temple from real or imagined evils. None of the carvings, in fact, is merely decorative, each ‘has its meaning at its proper place and is an image or symbol’. Although the main temple complex is now a colossal ruin, virtually every scholar or connoisseur who has seen it has been greatly impressed by its monumental grandeur and generally considers it to be the grandest achievement of the Orissan style of architecture, the culmination and climax of a long evolution spanning over seven hundred years.

Probably there has been more written about this monument than about any other single Hindu structure, ranging from critical scholarly studies to popularized editions exploiting the erotic nature of the sculptural decoration. In the earliest studies, the authors were overly impressed with the monumental scale of the temple and its deployment of massive iron beams and prodigious blocks of stone, pondering on the technical problems confronting the Indian architects of the thirteenth century. In more recent studies, emphasis is placed on a critical analysis of the structure and its iconographic peculiarities. A serious drawback to presenting an accurate history of the temple and its later collapse and desecration is the lack of reliability and even authenticity of texts and records purporting to give factual details and historical background. Various accounts often contradict one another, while numerous legends have been fabricated or greatly embellished even by modern scholars. The Madala Panji (Gajapati chronicle of the Jagannatha temple), from which numerous other palm-leaf manuscripts often draw material, for example, was written long after the early history of the Surya Deul and its genealogy and chronology for pre-Somavamshi history are often misleading. Fortunately the long awaited definitive monograph by K.S. Behera has recently been published and the author addresses most of these problems.

Contents

List of Illustrationsix
IIntroduction1
IIThe Sanctity of Konark6
IIIThe Mahagayatri (Mayadevi) Temple9
IVKing Narasimha I, Builder of the Surya Deul17
VCollapse and Later Conservation26
VIThe Surya Deul35
Platform37
Bada Decoration39
Gandi (Spire) Decoration43
Jagamohana45
Entrance Portals49
Cult Images52
Erotic Imagery55
Secularization of the Iconographic Programme61
Nata-mandira64
Figure and Decorative Motifs69
VIIVaishnava Brick Temple74
Site Information76
Glossary80
Further Reading84

Konark (Monumental Legacy)

Item Code:
NAF945
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2010
ISBN:
9780195675917
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
97
Other Details:
Weight of the book: 122 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
Usually ships in 15 days
Be the first to rate this product
Add to Wishlist
Send as e-card
Send as free online greeting card
Konark (Monumental Legacy)
From:
Edit     
You will be informed as and when your card is viewed. Please note that your card will be active in the system for 30 days.

Viewed 4234 times since 1st Apr, 2014
About The Book

Built by King Narashimha I in the mid-thirteenth century, the Sun Temple at Konark represents the climax of a thousand year evolution of Orissa temple construction. This book describes the numerous myths and theories on the construction, architectural features, Sculptural Programme, as well as the decorative elements of the temple ranging from the sacred to erotic, celestials, and scenes from everyday life.

Well illustrated with layout plans, maps, and photographs, this volume will be indispensable for general readers and informed tourists visiting the site. Students and scholars of history, cultural studies, and art and architecture will also find the work interesting.

Introduction

Historically the modern state of Orissa, situated on the Bay of Bengal on the northeast coast of India, has been noted as ‘a land of temples’, even in the writings of nineteenth-century scholars. James Fergusson for example, declared that ‘there are more temples now in Orissa than in all the rest of Hindustan put together’, while W. W. Hunter stated that ‘from end to end, it is one region of pilgrimage’. Its great sanctity is likewise extolled in various Sanskrit texts. In the Brahma Purana (26.39—40), when the sages ask Brahma about the most excellent place on earth, that bestows virtue (dharma), love (kama), wealth (artha) and salvation ( moksha) , and that is the most excellent of all holy centres, he particularly singles out Utkala (Orissa) and its four great religious centres: Konaditya (Konark, for the worship of Surya); Viraja (Jajpur, for the worship of Devi); Ekamra (Bhubaneswar, for the worship of Shiva); and Puri (for the worship of Vishnu), considering those who stay there to be dwellers of heaven while the sites themselves yield worldly pleasures and salvation on this very earth. In contrast to the other three religious centres, which are metropolitan areas, Konark is a remote site on a sandy beach near the mouth of the Chandrabhaga river, a dried-up tributary of the Prachi. This feature led Percy Brown to conjecture that the site was selected in order ‘that the practices so wantonly illustrated might be ceremoniously conducted by its addicts in an underworld of their own’. Whereas Bhubaneswar and Puri each have a multiplicity of temple complexes, Konark has a single temple complex. However, its dominating shrine, built by king Narasimha (CE 1238—64) of the Ganga dynasty and dedicated to the Sun god, is the largest temple constructed in Orissa. For its size, it has been considered to be ‘the most richly ornamented building—externally at least—in the whole world’. The overwhelming abundance of sculpture in no way overshadows the architectural splendour of the monument, but as noted by Ananda Coomaraswamy greatly enriches it: ‘it would be hard to find anywhere in the world a more perfect example of the adaptation of sculpture to architecture.’ Its beauty was admired even by the Muslim Abu’l Fazl who, in his Ain-i-Akbari (sixteenth century), remarked that ‘even those whose judgement is critical and who are difficult to please stand astonished at its sight.’

The Orissan style of architecture represents a unique regional variation of the Nagara (northern) style of the Hindu temple and displays its own nomenclature for architectural features. Three architectural orders described in the Vastu text, Bhuvanapradipa, that is, the rekha (with a curvilinear spire), the bhadra or pidha (with a pyramidal roof) and the khakhara (with an oblong bada and semi- cylindrical roof) are employed in various periods in Orissa for the deul (sanctum) of the temple complex. In its mature format however it is the rekha order that becomes the standard plan for this most sanctified part of the shrine while the pidha order becomes the standard plan for the jagamohana or front hall. The balance of these two contrasting superstructures, of a low pidha-deul as being subordinate to the higher rekha-deul, is peculiar to Orissa and greatly enhances the grandeur of the soaring curvilinear spire, as noted by Stella Kramrisch. A particularly distinctive feature of the Orissan temple, evident from the very beginning, is the overall clarity of the total design in plan and elevation. Each individual architectural unit is clearly defined as a self-containing element in the overall decorative programme. Each sculptural image is well contained within its pillar or niche boundaries, adhering closely to the surface. The pagas (vertical elements) that project from the exterior walls are usually designed as mundis (miniature shrines) or replicas of the temple itself, complete with niche and spire. These mundis function as an ornament to beautify the structure and at the same time act as a frame to house or display images of the various deities, Their niches, offsets, and recesses cast shadows that interact with the rounded contours of figure sculpture and the organic profusion of scroll motifs to produce an enmeshed framework of light and dark accents. As miniature replicas they perpetuate the image of the temple, both the terrestial dwelling place of the deity and literally a design of the cosmos, while their niches, Kramrisch adds, serve as windows or exits through which the divinity of the enshrined deity shines forth. The decorative motifs, in addition to beautifying the structure, serve symbolically as auspicious images to protect the temple from real or imagined evils. None of the carvings, in fact, is merely decorative, each ‘has its meaning at its proper place and is an image or symbol’. Although the main temple complex is now a colossal ruin, virtually every scholar or connoisseur who has seen it has been greatly impressed by its monumental grandeur and generally considers it to be the grandest achievement of the Orissan style of architecture, the culmination and climax of a long evolution spanning over seven hundred years.

Probably there has been more written about this monument than about any other single Hindu structure, ranging from critical scholarly studies to popularized editions exploiting the erotic nature of the sculptural decoration. In the earliest studies, the authors were overly impressed with the monumental scale of the temple and its deployment of massive iron beams and prodigious blocks of stone, pondering on the technical problems confronting the Indian architects of the thirteenth century. In more recent studies, emphasis is placed on a critical analysis of the structure and its iconographic peculiarities. A serious drawback to presenting an accurate history of the temple and its later collapse and desecration is the lack of reliability and even authenticity of texts and records purporting to give factual details and historical background. Various accounts often contradict one another, while numerous legends have been fabricated or greatly embellished even by modern scholars. The Madala Panji (Gajapati chronicle of the Jagannatha temple), from which numerous other palm-leaf manuscripts often draw material, for example, was written long after the early history of the Surya Deul and its genealogy and chronology for pre-Somavamshi history are often misleading. Fortunately the long awaited definitive monograph by K.S. Behera has recently been published and the author addresses most of these problems.

Contents

List of Illustrationsix
IIntroduction1
IIThe Sanctity of Konark6
IIIThe Mahagayatri (Mayadevi) Temple9
IVKing Narasimha I, Builder of the Surya Deul17
VCollapse and Later Conservation26
VIThe Surya Deul35
Platform37
Bada Decoration39
Gandi (Spire) Decoration43
Jagamohana45
Entrance Portals49
Cult Images52
Erotic Imagery55
Secularization of the Iconographic Programme61
Nata-mandira64
Figure and Decorative Motifs69
VIIVaishnava Brick Temple74
Site Information76
Glossary80
Further Reading84
Post a Comment
 
Post a Query
For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy
Based on your browsing history
Loading... Please wait

Items Related to Konark (Monumental Legacy) (History | Books)

India (Art and Architecture in Ancient and Medieval Periods)
Item Code: NAK236
$16.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Military Architecture in Ancient India
by Ratanlal Mishra
Hardcover (Edition: 2002)
B.R. Publishing Corporation
Item Code: NAL702
$36.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Cultural Interface of India with Asia Religion, Art and Architecture
Deal 25% Off
Item Code: IDK199
$125.00$93.75
You save: $31.25 (25%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Glimpses of Ancient Indian Architecture
Deal 20% Off
Item Code: NAD702
$15.00$12.00
You save: $3.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Art Shrines of Ancient India
by V.K. Subramanian
Hardcover (Edition: 2003)
Abhinav Publication
Item Code: IHL115
$52.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Fine Arts in Ancient India - An Old Book
by Anil Baran Ganguly
Hardcover (Edition: 1979)
Abhinav Publication
Item Code: IDE352
$29.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Sarnath- Archaeology, Art and Architecture (World Heritage Series)
by B.R. Mani
Hardcover (Edition: 2006)
Archaeological Survey of India
Item Code: IHG040
$21.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Architecture in India (History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization)
Deal 20% Off
Item Code: NAM394
$95.00$76.00
You save: $19.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Testimonials
Namaste and many thanks! Lovely collection you have! Tempted to buy so many books!
Revathi, USA
I received my order. Thanks for giving the platform to purchase artifacts of our culture. You guys are doing a great job. Appreciate it and wish you guys the best.
Manju, USA
Fantastic! Thank You for amazing service and fast replies!
Sonia, Sweden
I’ve started receiving many of the books I’ve ordered and every single one of them (thus far) has been fantastic - both the books themselves, and the execution of the shipping. Safe to say I’ll be ordering many more books from your website :)
Hithesh, USA
I have received the book Evolution II.  Thank you so much for all of your assistance in making this book available to me.  You have been so helpful and kind.
Colleen, USA
Thanks Exotic India, I just received a set of two volume books: Brahmasutra Catuhsutri Sankara Bhasyam
I Gede Tunas
You guys are beyond amazing. The books you provide not many places have and I for one am so thankful to have found you.
Lulian, UK
This is my first purchase from Exotic India and its really good to have such store with online buying option. Thanks, looking ahead to purchase many more such exotic product from you.
Probir, UAE
I received the kaftan today via FedEx. Your care in sending the order, packaging and methods, are exquisite. You have dressed my body in comfort and fashion for my constrained quarantine in the several kaftans ordered in the last 6 months. And I gifted my sister with one of the orders. So pleased to have made a connection with you.
EB Cuya FIGG, USA
Thank you for your wonderful service and amazing book selection. We are long time customers and have never been disappointed by your great store. Thank you and we will continue to shop at your store
Michael, USA
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2021 © Exotic India