The Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha (Orissa) is dedicated to the Hindu God Sun (Surya). It looks like a 100 foot high chariot with wheels and horses. The entire structure is carved out of stone.
It was built in the 13th Century and attributed to the King Narasimhadeva I of the Ganga Dynasty. It is in the shape of a gigantic solar chariot with 12 pairs of exquisitely ornamented wheels and dragged by seven horses.
The temple sanctum comprises of a lofty Shikhara (tip) about 68 meters high, a Jagamohana and a detached Nata-Mandira (dance hall) in the same axis. There are numerous sub-shrines within the temple. The temple structure has been partly destructed.
Though the cause of the destruction of the Konark temple is not clear, the Sanctum and the Nata-Mandir have lost their roof. There are theories of natural damage as well as deliberate destruction of the temple.
The European sailors have mentioned the Konark Sun Temple as “Black Pagoda” because of its black coloured tower. At one time, the Konark Sun Temple served as an important landmark for sailors in the Bay of Bengal.
It has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI)
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