S. view of the Surya Temple ('Black Pagoda'), Konarak (Orissa). 12 December 1809
Wash drawing of the Surya Temple ('Black Pagoda') at Konarak in Orissa, seen from the south, by an anonymous artist, from the MacKenzie Collection, dated 12 December 1809. Inscribed on front in ink: 'Black Pagoda. 12 December, 1809.'
The great Sun Temple of Konarak stands on the Bay of Bengal, where thousands of pilgrims still come to bathe in the water during the spring festival to celebrate the birth of the Vedic sun god, Surya. The temple was constructed by Narashimhadev, king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 13th century. Conceived as a gigantic chariot with twelve pairs of carved wheels, this temple is an architectural feat for the Orissan style. It originally consisted of a sanctum with a spire reaching more than 70 metres, an assembly hall and a dancing hall as well as a number of subsidiary shrines. The sanctum and the dancing hall have lost their roofs and it is only the assembly hall which has survived with its large pyramidal roof, the exterior of which is decorated with sculptures of musicians, dancers and maidens.