Close view of sculptural detail on left-hand side of eastern façade of mandapa of Surya Temple or Black Pagoda, Konarka
Photographer: Cornish, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a close view of the sculptural detail on the left-hand side of the eastern façade of the mandapa of Surya Temple or Black Pagoda, Konarka from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by William Henry Cornish in c. 1890. The Surya Temple at Konarak was constructed by king Narasimha of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in 1240 circa. This colossal temple complex was too heavy for the friable soil on which it was built and the 70 metres shikhara covering the sanctum collapsed in 1837 as well as the roof of the dance pavilion. Only the jagamohana survived with its large pyramidal roof rising in three tiers decorated with sculptures of musicians, dancers and maidens. The temple is conceived as a colossal processional chariot of the Sun with 12 pairs of carved wheels, drawn by 7 rearing horses. The outer walls of the mandapa are decorated with sculptures of rearing mythical beasts and amorous couples positioned in niches and recesses.