About the Book
The Sun temple of Konark in Orissa, also famous as the Black pagoda, is undoubtedly one of the finest monument where the vitality and spirit of a bygone creative age in its life like sculptures. It has been declared as a World Heritage Monument for its outstanding universal value to humanity.
The author Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera, an archaeologist and historian of repute has written this book with broad objective to discuss all aspects of Konark, its mythology, history, architecture, sculpture and conservation etc. It is hoped that this concise narrative and the photo plates will help all those who want to know Konark in the poper perspective
The Sun temple of Konark in Orissa, once famous as the Black Pagoda, is undoubtedly one of the finest monuments of mankind. But sadly, however, this great temple, built in the mid thirteenth century, is now in ruins. In 1626 it was already deserted and worship had ceased. The main temple, which was even higher than the jagamohana or vestibule, gradually disintegrated and its remaining fragment was brought down by a strong gale in October, 1848. Its magnificent wheels remained underneath the sand in the 19th century. The jagamohana remains more or less intact, even that has been filled with sand in 1903 by the order of J.A. Baurdillon, then Lieutenant governor of Bengal, as this was considered to be the only way to preserve the monument. The natamandira or dance hall of the temple is without its superstructure.
Even in ruins, Konark is a magnificent monument, where the vitality and spirit of a creative age in the history of Orissa are echoed in its sculptures even long after that time is buried in the past. Sir John Marshall remarked, "there is no monument of Hinduism, I think that is at once so stupendous and so perfectly proportioned, as the Black Pagoda, and none which leaves so deep an impression on the memory". The temple was declared a centrally protected monument in March 22, 1915. It has been included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1984 for its outstanding universal value to humanity.
Over the centuries, legends and oral traditions, made this monument more and more mysterious. Perhaps few temples in India have remained as controversial as Konark in vital matters such as construction, worship, and causes of its downfall. Did the builders fmish the temple? Was it consecrated? When did the temple fall down? What are the outstanding features of Konark? A number of questions arise which form a popular subject of discussion among the scholars and common people.
This monograph has been written with broad object to discuss all aspects of Konark, its mythology, religious importance, history, architecture, sculpture and its conservation.
In the preparation of the volume I have extensively used existing published monographs on the subject and important material available in various institutions. However, due to constraint of space, the footnote reference have been avoided and the sources of the quoted statements may be found in my earlier monograph on Konark which was published in 1996 and in the bibliography. My understanding of the monument owes a great deal to my extensive field study and long association with Konark. I hope that this concise and coherent narrative will help general readers and all those who want to know Konark in a proper perspective. I would like to thank the authorities of the Archaeological Survey of India, National Museum, New Delhi, British Museum, London. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, India Office Library, London, British Library London, for photographs, important information and facilities. I am especially grateful to S. Digby and J.C. Harle for their valuable illustrations on Konark, published in South Asian Studies and to Durga Charan Pati, former Chief Engineer, Gopalpur Port, Orissa, for drawing my attention to drawings of the Black Pagoda contained in the log books of voyages in 1679-80. Dr. Sanjay Acharya, my colleague in the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar provided valuable photographs and helped me in many ways for which I wish to thank him.
I would like to thank my family members, Shantipriya Behera (Wife), Soumyadarshan (Son), Madhusmita (daughter in law), Prajnaparamita (daughter) and Bijaya Kumar (son in law) for their support. My grand children - Abhijit, Ajitabh, and Anushka-provided a happy atmosphere for my work.
I am grateful to the Publications Division, Govt. of India, for giving me this opportunity to revisit Konark and write a concise volume in the light of the latest research on the subject.
|Chapter No.||Page No.|
|I||Mythology and Sanctity of Konark||1|
|II||King Narasimha I and Construction of the Konark Temple|
|III||The Orissan Style of Temple Architecture||23|
|IV||the Main Temple-Complex of Konark||35|
|V||Subsidiary Temples in the Compound||54|
|VI||Aspects of Architecture and Sculpture||61|
|VII||The Fall of the Temple and Conservation||90|
Item Code: IDH011 Author: K.S. Behera Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2005 Publisher: Publications Division, Government of India ISBN: 8123012365 Language: English Size: 8.8" X 5.6" Pages: 128 (Color Illus:22, B & W Illus:23,Figure:7)