India is home to a number of magnificent temples that have enthralled people from all over the world since times immemorial. The Konark Sun Temple at Odisha is one such architectural masterpiece that has thousands of visitors each year gaping in awe and wonder at its beauty and marvel. Dedicated to the Sun God and constructed by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, this Temple has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Following are some interesting facts about the Konark Sun Temple:
1. The design of the Konark Temple is in the form of a magnificent chariot consisting of 24 wheels each with a diameter of about 10 feet. The Chariot-Temple appears to be drawn by 7 beautiful horses.
2. The wheels make up for the main attraction of the temple. There are 12 pairs in total and the most interesting feature of these wheels is that they tell time. The spokes are built in the form of a sundial. The exact time of day can be told just be looking at the shadow cast by the spokes.
3. The Konark Sun Temple was built on the seashore. But the sea receded leaving a considerable distance between itself and the temple. Ancient sailors headed towards Odisha referred to the temple as a navigational point and called it the ‘Black pagoda’ due to its dark colour.
4. The temple had a dome which was magnetic in nature. This magnetic dome has caused a number of ships to crash on the seashore. This dome was eventually taken down and destroyed.
5. The Konark Sun Temple makes for the third link in the infamous Odisha Golden Triangle. The other two links are the Jagannath Puri and Bhubaneswar.
6. Close to the Konark Temple were found 2 small temples in ruins. One of these was the Mayadevi temple dedicated to Goddess Mayadevi, one of the wives of the Sun God.
7. The temple has three images of the Sun God. Each image is positioned in a way as to catch the rays of the sun each in the morning, at noon and during sunset.
8. The Konark Wheel was adopted as the official symbol of the Government of India and is also printed on a few Indian currency notes.
9. Another attraction of the temple is a dancing hall also known as the ‘Nat Mandap’. What makes this hall so attractive is the vast number of erotic images carved on its walls. They also have carvings of divine damsels and danseuse that ignite a sense of passion within an onlooker.
10. King Narasimhadeva I fought a great battle with the Delhi Muslim Empire which resulted in defeat of the Muslim rulers. In order to commemorate his victory, Narasimhadeva undertook the construction of the Konark Sun Temple as a form of victory memorial.
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