Legend has it that the temple at Konark was built by Krishna’s eldest son, Samba. Samba was devilishly handsome, and rather full of himself, so when a wandering wise man visited he ignored him. The wise man decided to punish Samba for his arrogance and gave alcohol to the wives of both Samba and his father – all 16,100 of them. In a state of inebriation Krishna’s wives, shall we say, lost their inhibitions with respect to Samba. Unsurprisingly, Krishna was a little miffed with what happened, so cursed his son with leprosy. After 12 years of suffering, Samba was cured, and so in gratitude to Surya, the sun god, he built a magnificent temple.
Reality is a little more prosaic. The temple was, in fact, built at the behest of King Narasimhadeva I in the 13th century.
The entrance is guarded by two stone lions trampling on war elephants. Under each elephant body is a human crushed.
The temple is build in the form of a massive chariot (arka) with 12 pairs of wheels pulled by horses.
The walls are completely smothered in fine carvings showing animals
dancers and musicians
I couldn’t quite work out what some of the people were up to, though.
As Tagore wrote of this place:
“Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man.”