Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Places in news: Konark Sun Temple

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Konark Sun Temple

Mains level : Kalinga and other temple architecture

The Archaeological Survey of India is working on a preliminary roadmap to safely remove sand from the interiors of Odisha’s Sun Temple, which was filled up by the British 118 years ago to prevent it from collapsing.

Konark Sun Temple

  • Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century CE Sun temple at Konark about 36 kilometres northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India.
  • The temple is attributed to king Narasinga Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
  • Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984 it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela around the month of February.

Its architecture

  • Dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya, what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone.
  • Its architecture has all the defining elements of the Kalinga architecture – it includes Shikhara (crown), Jagmohana (audience hall), Natmandir (dance hall), and Vimana (tower).
  • Also called the Surya Devalaya, it is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture.
  • Once over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary; at one time this rose much higher than the mandapa that remains.
  • The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic kama and mithuna scenes.
  • The Jagamohan is the only structure that is fully intact now.

Earlier restoration efforts

  • It had been filled with sand and sealed by the British authorities in 1903 in order to stabilize the structure, a/c to ASI.
  • The sand filled in over 100 years ago had settled, leading to a gap of about 17 feet.
  • However, the structure was found to be stable.

 

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