Close view of right half of west façade and roof of the mandapa of the Surya Temple or Black Pagoda, Konarka 1003348
Photographer: Cornish, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a close view of the right half of the west façade and roof of the mandapa of the 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, conceived as a processional chariot of the Sun with 12 pairs of carved wheels, drawn by 7 rearing horses, 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, the nata-mandir. Only the jagamohana, or assembly hall, survived with its large pyramidal roof rising in three tiers with horizontal mouldings carved with decorative friezes. Large sculptures of beautiful female dancers and musicians, like the ones seen in this photograph, are positioned in between the storeys.