Saturday, March 25, 2006
The Konark temple in India is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance.The whole complex stands within a vast quadrangle, surrounded by a fortress-like boundary wall.A narrow entrance in the east leads to the pillared hall of offering (bhoga mandap). Because of the numerous embellishments of dancers and musicians on the pillars, this structure is erroneously called the dance hall (nata mandira). Then comes the hall of worship (porch) (39-metre-high jagmohana ) where devotees gathered for the darshan. In 1903, sand had filled it up and had to be closed, to prevent it from collapsing. Next is the sanctum sanctorum, which is now without its 61-metre-high tower, like the bhoga mandap. The deity is not here either. This super structure of jagmohana and the sanctum sanctorum is erected on a four-metre-high platform.The nata mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Odissi, a classical dance form of India, traditionally developed from the temples of Orissa. Before 17th century, this was performed by the Devdasis in the temple. After 17th Century, it was confined to the male dancer known as Gotipua. After the independence(1947), it was again developed and now it is one of the most prestigious popular classical dance form of India.