Konark sun temple is one of the most interesting and unique temples all over India. The temple is also called Surya deula in Odisha. It was built in the 13Th century CE. IT is situated around 35kms Northeast of Puri alongside the coastline of Odhisa. The temple is a virtue to king Narasimhadev, who was the ruler of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250 CE.
The temple dedicates to the Sun god Surya and the structure is shown as a 100- foot high chariot with big wheels and 7 horses, all carved from a single stone. The mesmerizing beauty of the temple is shown through the sculpture, artwork, and themes including Kama and Mithuna scene. The temple is designed and constructed in a typical Odian style. The temple was supposed to stand over 200 feet high before the beginning of its ruins.
The great shikhara was believed to have appeared black and was thought to serve as a landmark for ships in the Bay of Bengal is referred to as “The Black Pagoda” by the British sailors during the 17th Century.
The word Konark is a Sanskrit word, “Kona” meaning angle and “Ark” meaning The Sun. Thus the meaning of Konark is the angle or the direction in which the temple is constructed to face the direct sunrise.
The temple is in the shape of a giant chariot built from stone devoted to the Sun god. He is shown as a luminous being standing inside the chariot and holding a lotus in both hands. The chariot is pulled by Arun- The Charioteer and the 7 horses which denotes the spectrum and are named after the 7 meters of Sanskrit intonation; namely Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha, and Pankti. Surya is denoted with the Dawn goddesses Usha and Pratyusha. They are indicated to be firing arrows, which show their incursion from the darkness into the light of dawn.
The most interesting attraction of the temple is the 12 wheels of the chariot. These wheels are not ordinary and simple, the spokes of the wheels are work as a Sundial. The exact time of the day is calculated just by observing the shadow cast on the wheel by the spokes.
The Mystery Of The Magnet and The Floating Idol
Initially, the Konark Temple is built on the Seashore, but the sea has receded now and because of that the temple lies a few kilometers away from the sea. This temple holds several ancient tales with it. The tale which is very mysterious and legendary is the popular legend of its magnets and the floating idol.
The Temple was supposed to build with the powers of magnet and magnetic force. During the construction of the main tower, the artisans placed an iron plate between every two blocks of stone. It was supposed that there is a loadstone at the top of the temple, which is supposed to be a very heavy 52-ton magnet.
According to the tale the statue of the Sun god is believed to be floating in the mid-air without touching the ground and without any support of the external means. It was said that this could happen because of the opposing forces of magnets which are on the top and at the bottom and also around the walls of the temple.
Incidentally, the primary temple has been designed and constructed in such a manner that the very first sunlight would cross the Nata mandir and reflect light from the diamond that has been placed on the crown of Bhagwan Surya.
The Collapsing Of The Legend
According to one tale, the magnetic force of the Magnet placed on the top of the temple was so strong that it would cause various troubles with the compasses of the ships that passed along that area. And because of that, the navigation would be difficult for the sailors. To prevent their ships and also to save their business or trade, the Portuguese traders destroyed the temple and stolen the loadstone. This is believed one of the causes of the destruction of the temple. As there are not any historical pieces of evidence or proof of this event it’s only supposed to be a myth nowadays. No one knows whether the magnet existed or not.