Pic Credits: sandpebbles
Most often places of religious worship are associated with everything traditional- rituals, old legends, mythical deities and stale ideas, but the Konark temple is a marvel that inspires even modern day visitors. Built over a period of twelve years in the 13th century, it stands as a colossal reminder of the Ganga Empire of King Narasimhadeva I. Located in the historic state of Odisha, it is a UNESCO world heritage site where science and religion converge.
Pic Credits: Odisha Tourism
The Konark temple is constructed in the form of a huge chariot atop twelve wheels drawn by robust horses. Its walls are covered with depictions of striking scenes that represent human life with unprecedented artistic detail and the life size sculptures and figurines are testimonial to the creative intelligence of the time. Inside the massive structure is the seat of the Sun God which was once a floating deity that beckoned people from far and wide. Using the science of magnetic forces, the idol was placed between iron plates and a base magnet such that the statue seemed to levitate in thin air. Not only this, each of the chariot wheels that support the temple are sundials that can be used to calculate the time by studying shadows. These technical details leave every onlooker gawking at the precision with which it was constructed. Seeming to be headed towards the sun as the Surya Devta rides in it, the Sun temple indeed lives up to its name.
Pic Credits: Behance
But the most striking feature and also the often overlooked aspect of its design, is its resemblance to the Greek mythology of the sun god Apollo. Envisioned as a mighty Olympian by the Greeks, Apollo was the chariot rider of the Sun who drove it across the sky from morning until the night every day. Mirroring this stunning imagery, the Konark temple too seems to take flight towards the sun. It is a reminder that faiths may vary across cultures but the beliefs remain the same, tying humans with an unidentified force of oneness and brotherhood.