Home Do You Know? What do the wheels of this temple convey?

What do the wheels of this temple convey?

The Sun Temple at Konârak built in the 13th century is located in Odisha and is a classic example of Kalinga architecture. The temple was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984. The structure is chariot shaped and do you know what do the wheels of the structure convey?

The Konark Sun Temple was built in A.D.1250 during the reign of the Eastern Ganga King Narsimhadeva-1 from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. Originally, three peculiar types of stones were used in this structure. For the door lintels and sculptures, chlorite had been used. Laterite had been preferred for the staircase and the cynosure of the temple platform. Another stone called Khondalite was used for every other part of the temple. None of these stones occur naturally nearby, and the architects and artisans must have procured and moved the stones from distant sources, probably using the rivers and water channels near the site.

No doubt the temple is a masterpiece of creative genius in both conception and realisation and it represents a chariot of the Sun God, with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses evoking its movement across the heavens. It is embellished with sophisticated and refined iconographical depictions of contemporary life and activities. On the north and south sides are 24 carved wheels, each about 3 m in diameter. The architecture is also symbolic, with the chariot’s twelve pairs of wheels corresponding to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, each month paired into two cycles (Shukla and Krishna). These wheels are, in fact, sundials, which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute. Between the wheels, the plinth of the temple is entirely decorated with reliefs of fantastic lions, musicians and dancers, and erotic groups. Further, its construction caused the mobilization of 1,200 workers for 12 years.

Another notable feature of this temple is that when viewed from inland during the dawn and sunrise, the chariot-shaped temple appears to emerge from the depths of the blue sea carrying the sun.

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