Statues of two horses near the ashvadavara, Surya Temple or Black Pagoda, Konarka
Photographer: Cornish, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph was taken by William Cornish in 1890 for the Archaeological Survey of India. 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 along the sides of a broad terrace drawn by 7 galloping horses, of which one is shown here, positioned against the staircase leading up to the mandapa.