The Konark Sun Temple




Konark Sun Temple CE Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa, India. The temple is now mostly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The Sun Temple was built in the 13th century and designed as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, Surya, with twelve pairs of ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses. The Sun temple belongs to the Kalingan school of Indian temple architecture. The alignment of the Sun Temple is along the East-West direction. The inner sanctum or vimana used to be surmounted by a tower or shikara but it was razed in the 19th century.

History of the temple
The temple is believed to be constructed in the 13th century by a king called Narasimhadeva. Like with most things in India, this temple too has connections with a few legends. As per one of the legends, God Krishna cursed, one of his own sons with leprosy. To seek penance, Samba worshiped Lord Sun (Surya) for a period of twelve years. Pleased with his devotion, Surya healed him. Samba made the Sun temple in return to express his gratitude. According to the scriptures, Samba, the son of Krishna, was cursed with leprosy. He was advised by the sage, Kataka, to worship the sun god to cure his aliment. Samba underwent penance for 12 years in Mitravana near the shores of Chandrabhaga. Both the original Konark temple and the Multan temple have been attributed to Samba.
 
Architecture
The temple has been built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of the Sun god, Surya. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels which are 3 meters wide and is pulled by a set of seven horses. The original temple had a main sanctum sanctorum (vimana), which was supposedly 229 feet(70 m) tall.  It is presumed to have been dedicated to Mayadevi, one of the Sun god's wives.  In the Orissan architecture this type of temple is known as pancha-ratha-dekha deul, as each of its facades are broken by five small projections to produce an effect of light and shade on the surface and also to create an impression of one contineous verticle line. Its roof is of a terraced pyramidal shape and the string cornices are separated by three tires by means of high recesses, which contain a number of beautiful life-sized standing figures of women in various dancing poses, Playing on different musical instruments like drums, flutes, vina and symbals, depicting the usual customs of offering dances, by the devadashis at the time of arati.