Statue of a lion rearing over an elephant, near the simhadvara, Surya Tempel or Black Pagoda, Konarka
Photographer: Cornish, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
The Surya Temple at Konarak was constructed by king Narasimha of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in 1240 circa. The temple is conceived as a colossal processional chariot of the Sun with 12 pairs of carved wheels, drawn by 7 rearing horses. It originally consisted of a sanctum with a shikhara reaching more than 70 metres, a jagamohana and a dancing hall as well as a number of subsidiary shrines. The sanctum and the nata mandir have lost their roofs and it is only the jagamohana that has survived with its large pyramidal roof decorated with sculptures of musicians, dancers and maidens. The front steps of the terrace leading to the nata mandir are flanked by 2 guardian lions rearing over kneeling elephants that hold prostrate figures in their trunks.