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About Konark Sun Temple

Context:

The 18th G20 Summit was held in New Delhi, for the first time on 9th -10th September 2023, under the theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. Key Facts About Konark Sun Temple

Details:

The summit took place at the Bharat Mandapam Convention Centre in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. As a tribute to India’s rich cultural diversity and heritage, the summit venue featured a prominent mural depicting the historic Konark Wheel from Odisha’s Sun Temple, serving as the backdrop to welcome world leaders.

Key Facts About Konark Sun Temple:

Location and Attribution:
  • The Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century CE Sun temple located in Konark, along the coastline in the Puri district of Odisha, India.
  • It is attributed to King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty and was built around 1250 CE.
  • The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya.
Architectural Marvel:
  • The temple complex is renowned for its distinctive appearance, resembling a 100-foot-high chariot with massive stone wheels and horses.
  • This architectural masterpiece is carved entirely from stone.
  • It is considered the pinnacle of Kalinga temple architecture.
UNESCO World Heritage Site:
  • The Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its cultural and historical significance.
  • It is also a major pilgrimage site for Hindus and is featured on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of 10 rupees.
Colorful Nickname:
  • European sailors referred to the temple as the “Black Pagoda” as early as 1676 due to its resemblance to a tiered tower that appeared black. In contrast, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda.”
Key Features:
  • The temple symbolizes the chariot of the Sun God, drawn by seven horses and with twelve pairs of wheels, representing the Sun’s movement across the heavens.
  • Each wheel has 24 spokes, signifying the 24 hours in a day. These wheels also functioned as sundials, with shadows indicating the time of day.
  • The temple complex consists of well-organized spatial units, including the vimana (principal sanctuary), jahamogana (audience hall), and natmandir (dance hall).
  • The vimana once had a high tower with a shikhara (crowning cap), known as Rekha deul, which was destroyed in the 19th century.
Architectural Significance:
  • The Konark Sun Temple stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic brilliance of the Kalinga dynasty. It combines religious symbolism with astronomical and timekeeping elements, making it a remarkable historical and cultural treasure.

-Source: Indian Express


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