ART AND CULTUREGeneral Studies I

Sun Temple


Several steps have   been taken by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to mitigate the impact of   saline action, water logging, erosion and vegetative intrusions such as cleaning of the surface by paper pulp method, consolidation and strengthening of   stones wherever needed, plantation of trees in surrounding area to prevent   mechanical erosion by wind action, removal of water by installing pumping sets,   and periodic biocidal treatment for control of vegetative intrusion. 

About Sun Temple Konark:

  • Konark Sun Temple (Konark Surya Mandir) Built in 13th-century CE(year 1250) 
  • Sun temple at Konark situated at Puri on the coastline of Odisha.
  • The temple is attributed to king Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
  • Temple 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. Once over 200 feet (61 m) high.
  • The temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot.  In this sense, it is directly and materially linked to Brahmanism and tantric belief systems.

  • It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984.
  • There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun temple. Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and others say the 12 months.
  • The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week.
  • Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konark, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.
  • Konârak is the invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originating in Kashmir during the 8th century, finally reached the shores of Eastern India.


  • The temple follows the traditional style of Kalinga architecture.
  • It is oriented towards the east so that the first rays of the sunrise strike the main entrance.
  • The temple, built from Khondalite rocks, was originally constructed at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then. 
  • The wheels of the temple are sundials, which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute.

Hindu deities

  • These include images of musicians and mythological narratives as well as sculptures of Hindu deities, including Durga in her Mahishasuramardini aspect killing the shape-shifting buffalo demon (Shaktism), Vishnu in his Jagannatha form (Vaishnavism), and Shiva as a (largely damaged) linga (Shaivism).
  • The Hindu deities are also depicted in other parts of the temple. For example, the medallions of the chariot wheels of the Surya temple, as well as the anuratha artwork of the jagamohana, show Vishnu, Shiva, Gajalakshmi, Parvati, Krishna, Narasimha, and other divinities. Also found on the jagamohana are sculptures of Vedic deities such as Indra, Agni, Kubera, Varuna, and Âdityas.

Preservation Efforts:

ASI has introduced plain stones only   where original stones were missing or for filling of gaps to ensure   structural stability and to prevent water ingress. All conservation work is   carried out as per ASI’s conservation policy, 2014.

Annual Conservation   Plan is regularly drawn by ASI every year, for review of the requirements at   the monument for its appropriate preservation.

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