The idea for this book came when we were both Fellows at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, green environment and an excellent library. A seminar organized by the Institute in Bhopal on the topic "Outlines of Indian Arts: Peaks of Creativity" (November 2004) under the chairmanship of Prof. G.C. Pande, gave us the inspiration, combined with the excellent photos of Mr. Oki Morihiro, who loves Konarka and has visited the site so many times. We are therefore grateful to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study for giving us the chance to work together and for using its facilities during our work on the book.
We also gratefully acknowledge the Alice Boner Foundations for reproducing the palm-leaf illustrations from Alice Boner's book, New Light on the Sun Temple of Konarka.
Finally, Mr. S.K. Mittal, our publisher, deserves all thanks and appreciation for his keen interest and untiring effort in bringing out this book in the best possible quality.
One of the greatest treasures of Indian Temple architecture and on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, The Sun Temple of Konarka on the East coast of Orissa stands as a witness to the cult of Surya. Even in its dilapidated condition it represents the unique beauty and harmony of architecture and sculpture combined. The present book attempts a fresh approach in understanding its symbolism. The splendid photographs of the renowned Japanese photographer Oki Morihiro bring out the grandeur of the conception of the chariot of the Sun God, and the excellence of its sculptures with delightful details.
The volume is introduced by two scholars in the fields of Orissan temple architecture and archaeology. Bettina Baumer in her introduction approaches the temple with a new interpretation, based on the Saura, Vedic and Tantric traditions, throwing light on its symbolism and its mystical dimension. M.A. Konishi places the temple in its historical and geographical context and its importance as a World Heritage. The book provides both, a visual delight by the excellent photographs, and a scholarly insight and introduction to this great monument of Orissa. It can well serve as a guide to understanding and appreciating the temple of Konarka.
Baumer Bettina born in Austria, living and working in Varanasi (India) since 1967, is a scholar of Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and art, with specialization in Silpasastra and temple architecture of Orissa and Kashmir Saivism. She has co-edited Silpa Prakasa Mediaeval Orissan Sanskrit Text on Temple Architecture by Alice Boner et al. (2004), Silparatnakosa: A Glossary of Orissan Temple Architecture, besides a number of academic papers.
Konishi Masatoshi (b.1938), is Professor Emeritus, Rikkyo University, Tokyo. A graduate of the Universities of Calcutta and Tokyo, specializing in South Asian Archaeology and Art. His major Publications are: Afghanistan (1968); Arts and Crafts of India (1977); Diverse World of India(1981); Aspects of the Indian Folk Culture (!986); History and Culture of Bengal (1986); Folk Performances of India (2002) among others.
Oki Morihiro (b.1929), is a freelance photographer and member of Japan Professional Photographer's Society. He has visited India for more than 100 times, driving his jeep to the remotest villages. His major publications include: Mother Teresa and Her Sister (1978); India Fairs and Festivals (1988); Mother Teresa Love without Limit (1987); Folk Paintings from the Indian Earth (with Konishi, 2001); Unknown India (with Konishi, 2007); and many others.
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