Konark Sun Temple is located, in the state of Orissa near the sacred city of Puri. The sun Temple of Konark is dedicated to the sun God or Surya. It is a masterpiece of Orissa's medieval architecture. Sun temple has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance.
The Nata Mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
Konark derives its name from Konarka, the presiding deity of the Sun Temple. Konarka is actually a combination of two words, Kona (corner) and Arka (sun), which, when combined, means the sun of the corner. Konark was one of the earliest centres of Sun worshipping in India. The place finds mention in the Puranas as Mundira or Mundirasvamin, a name that was subsequently replaced by Konaditya or Konarka. Apart from the Puranas, other religious texts also point towards the existence of a sun temple at Konark long before the present temple.
Konark was once a bustling port of Kalinga and had good maritime trade relations with Southeast Asian countries. The present Sun Temple was probably built King Narashimhadev I (AD 1238-64) of the Ganga dynasty to celebrate his victory over the Muslims. The temple fell into disuse in the early 17th century after it was desecrated by an envoy of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
However, legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father's curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.
The massive structure of the temple, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendor surrounded by the drifting sands. The entire temple has been designed in the shape of a chariot carrying the Sun God across the heavens. The huge intricate wheels of the chariot, which are carved around the base of the temple, are the major attractions of the temple. The spokes of these wheels serve as sundials, and the shadows formed by these can give the precise time of the day. The pyramidal roof of the temple, made of sandstone, soars over 30 m in height. Like the temples at Khajuraho, the Sun Temple at Konark is also covered with erotic sculptures.
The grand "Lotus Temple" is termed by many as the Taj of modern India. Its distinctive lotus shaped marvel in marble is surrounded by a landscaped garden and is a symbol of peace. It is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith. It was completed in 1986.
It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It reaches a height of more than 40m. One can see 27 giant white petals of marble in a lotus shape, springing from nine pools and walkways indicative of the nine unifying spiritual paths of the Bahai's faith. The Bahai's lay great emphasis on prayer and meditation. They believe that these are important instruments for the progress of the human soul, both in this world and the next. The Bahai's pray to one God, the Creator of the Universe. The act of praying is described as 'Conversation with God' and meditation is perceived as the 'Key for opening the doors of mysteries'. In that state, man withdraws himself from all outside objects and immerses himself in the ocean of spiritual life.
In the Bahai's Holy Writings there are prayers for all occasions and can be offered individually or collectively. A great importance is given to prayers as is revealed in all the scriptures. The Bahai's Writings specify that the mere act of praying is not sufficient, instead the inspiration drawn from one's prayers must be translated into action and that promotes the well being of humanity.
Last edited by Rikkrdo; 30th November 2012 at 07:37.