Saturday, November 14, 2009

Konark Sun Temple - part 3: Wheels and Bhogomandir

Perhaps the most distinctive symbol of the Sun Temple is the wheel, an official symbol of the Government of India and present on some rupee currency notes.  There is a pair for each month of the year. The 24 wheels can also represent the hours of the day. Within each wheel are eight spokes, signifying prahars (3-hour periods) of a day. Each spoke contains a medallion with a different figurative carving. The protruding central axle also contains a decorative medallion. Our tour guide told us that one could tell the exact time of day by reading the wheel.

Next to the Sun Temple is the Bhogmandir – the “Hall of Offerings.” The stairs leading up to this now-roofless structure is framed by monstrous lions leaping over smaller, cowering elephants. Complementing the Sun Temple, the Hall of Offerings columns and platform contain richly decorated carvings of dancers portraying poses still used in classical Odissi dance. This structure is now used as a stage for special annual dance festivals.

See more photos of the Konark Sun Temple on my Flickr page

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