Odisha’s Konark Wheel at G20

Konark Wheel

Context: Replica of iconic Wheel of Konark Temple served as the cultural backdrop of meetings of foreign dignitaries in the G20 Summit meeting in the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi.

Wheels of Konark Temple

  • The Wheels of Konark Temple are also known as Konark Chakra. 
  • Konark temple was designed as a huge chariot drawn by 7 mighty horses in galloping mode on 12 pairs (total 24) of ornamented wheels made from stone and a central hub. 
  • Horses were conceived in such a way that the Sun God (Surya) himself was driving the chariot from inside the garbhagriha.
  • Intricate design of Konark Wheels: 
    • Although each of the 24 Konark wheels are similar, each one of them is decorated differently. 
    • The spokes of the wheels are also sculpted in such a way that they broaden at the centre like that of a diamond and are thinner at the ends. 
    • The spokes are minutely carved with motifs like scrollwork, floral motifs, creepers and foliate, beaded strings and stylised chaitya windows. 
    • The central portion of the spokes which resemble a diamond is also relieved with various deities like Isana, Isani, Surya, Vishnu and his incarnations), erotic and amorous figures, kanyas in various poses, a nobleman with a man standing with folded hands, a princely cavalier, man playing on cymbals, a boar hunting scene, elephant riders, hunting scenes, etc. 
    • The axle of the wheel also contains deities like a god with a goddess, Gajalakshmi, Krishna playing flute, gopis and cows, Narasimha, king on an elephant, etc.

Serves as a sundial: 

  • Konark wheel is composed of 8 outer spokes and 8 inner spokes with a diameter of 3 metres.
  • The twelve pairs of wheels symbolise 12 months of the year while the 8 spokes symbolise the 8 pahars of the day (time divisions of a day). Pahar signifies three hours of a day. 
  •  The wheel at Konark Sun Temple is designed in a way that they can be used to gauge the time of the day by looking at the shadow cast on the spoke of the wheels by the Sun. 

About Konark Sun Temple

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Schematic of Konark Sun Temple
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Plan of Konark Sun Temple
  • Located in coastal town of Konark in Puri district of Odisha. It is dedicated to the Sun God.
  • Konark is an amalgamation of two words – Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the Sun. Thus, Sun God worshipped in Ark Kshetra means Konark. 
  • Konark Sun Temple is epitome of the Odisha Style of Temple Architecture (Also known as Kalinga Temple Architecture).
  • The temple has been built by carving Khondalite stones. 
  • Built during the 13th century during the reign of Narasimhadeva-I, a distinguished ruler of Ganga dynasty. 
  • European travellers called the Konark temple as ‘Black Pagoda’ due to the dark colour of the temple when seen from the coast. 
  • The Temple has been included in the list of UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites in 1984.

Main Temple Complex

  • The temple comprises of a sanctum with a lofty shikara which is no more in existence, a jagmohana and a detached nata-mandira (hall of dance) in the same axis. 
  • According to Odia folklore, great architect Bishu Moharan and his son Dharmapada were responsible for the design and construction of the Konark Temple complex. 
  • Deul (sanctum sanctorum or sanctuary): Deul of Konark temple is built in rekha deul style of Kalingan temple architecture with a curvilinear shikhara. However, it is no more in existence. 
  • Jagmohana (frontal porch or mahamandapa, used as audience hall): It is built in the typical pidha deul style with receding pidhas resembling a pyramidal roof.
  • Natamandir (dance hall of hindu temple): The roof of the natamandir is no more in existence. 
  • Temple Complex at Konark consists of main temple complex and several other shrines such as Mayadevi temple, Vaishnava Temple and intricate carvings. 
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Jagmohan at Konark Temple

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