Two European officers with a dog exploring the interior of the ruined Sun Temple, Konarak (Orissa)
Artist: Stephen, William George (1792-1823)
Watercolour of two European officers with a dog exploring the interior of the ruined Sun Temple at Konarak in Orissa, by William George Stephen, dated 1812. Inscribed on the front, in watercolour: 'W.G.S. 1812'; on the back in ink: 'Interior of the Ruins of Kannaruk or Black Pagoda. Kuttack.'
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. This drawing depicts two figures and a dog inside the assembly hall.