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Sanctity Of The Place

It is described in Puranas that even the Gods like Sun and Siva themselves had performed penance in this Arka Kshetra to get rid of their sins. According to puranic legends a journey to this sacred place removes all sorts of sin and the person becomes cure from diseases. Those who desire overnight stay in this place, all their desires become fulfilled by the Sun god. Those who die in this land get into the Jyotirloka. A visit to the Sun god on a Sunday makes the person to live in the house of Sun.

Sun Worship

In ancient times worship of Sun god was in vogue and the people were accustomed with the worship of two Supreme deities - one mother Earth as Dharitri Maata and the other the Sun, the Dharam devata. Sun god is regarded as the supreme lord of the universe and the prime object of life giving energy, being the healer of diseases and bestower of desires.

                                Surya has been a  popular deity in India since Vedic period.  It is therefore described in Rig Veda regarding Prayer of Sun God as follows.

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In later ages the five supreme Gods worshipped by Hindu were Ganesh (destroyer of obstacles and fulfiller of desires), Vishnu (the cosmic sustainer of the phenomena universe), Siva (the cosmic destroyer of the universe), Durga (the mother goddess and source of all energies), and the Sun (the life giving energy). They are called Pancha-Devata. In Orissa there are five different kshetras or religious centers celebrated for these Pancha Devata viz: Vinayaka or Ganesh kshetra at Mahavinayak hills in the district of Cuttack, Vishnu or Sankha (the attributes in the hands of Lord Vishnu) Kshetra at Puri, Siva or Ekamra Kshetra at Bhubaneswar, Durga or Viraja Kshetra at Jajpur or Yajanapur where Yajati Keshri, worthy king of Keshri dynasty, performed an Asvamedha-Yajna (horse sacrifice) on the bank of the river Vaitarani and Surya or Arka Kshetra at Konark. So, Konark as it appears, has a sanctity as a kshetra much earlier than the present temple.

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LEGEND                             

It was dedicated to the Sun-God(Arka) popularly called   Biranchi-Narayan, and the tract in which it is situated was known as Arka-Kshetra as well as padma-kshetra. Among the five great religious zones  or Kshetra which were located in Orissa, Konark was considered to be one, the other four being Puri, Bhubaneswar, Mahavinayak, and Jajpur. There are a number of smaller shrines situated in the neighbourhood of the sun temple.In them are found Rameswar,Chitreswara,Tribeniswara,and Utpaleswar, all Siva-lingas and Ramachandi Rudrani,Khileswari,Charchika and Chitreswari,various forms of goddes Durga.Legends embodied in the Kapila samhita, the Madala Panji, and the Prachi-mahatmya, take the sanctity of Konark back to mythical times.The legends of these late texts are an obvious adaptation of a much earlier tradition as recorded in the Bhavisya  Purana and the Samba Purana.

2. According to mythology,Samba,son of Lord Krishna was smitten with leprosy due to the course of Lord Krishna.Samba for twelve years underwent severe penance at Mitravana near the confluence of Chandrabhaga river with the sea at Konark and ultimately succeeded in pleasing the God Surya, the healer of all skin diseases and was cured of his illness.In gratitude, he decided to erect a temple in the honour of Surya. The day following his cure,while Samba was bathing in the Chandrabhaga he discovered an image of the God,which had been fashioned out of Surya's body by Viswakarma.Samba installed this image in a temple built by him in Mitravana,where he propitiated the God.Since then throughout the ages this place has been regarded as sacred".

3.A shallow pool of water is known as the Chandrabhaga, where even now crowds of pilgrims take a purificatory bath before sun rise on the seventh day of the bright half of the month of Magha (January-February).A fair also takes place on this occasion.Once in the year the deserted holy place of Surya thus throbs with religious emotion.This is likely a survival of an ancient practice following the construction of the temple.Magha-Saptami is mentioned in the Madala Panji as one of the festival of this holy centre.It is also referred to the Brahma Purnima in connection with the description of Konark.

4.As the legend says that, King Narasimha Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty had ordered this temple to be built as a royal proclamation of the political supremacy of his dynasty.A workforce of 12 hundred artisans and architects invested their creative talent,energy and artistic commitment for an exhausting period of 12 years. The king had already spent an amount equivalent to the state's revenue receipts of 12 years..However the completion of the construction was nowhere  near sight. Then the king issued a final command that the work be completed by a stipulated date.The team of architects headed by Bisu Maharana was at its wit's end.It was then that Dharmapada the 12 year old son of the chief architect Bisu Maharana arrived there as a visiting onlooker.He became aware of the anxiety looming large among the architects. Although he did not have any practical experience of temple construction, he was thorough in his study of the theories of temple architecture.He offered to solve the confounding problem of fixing the last copping stone at the top of the temple.He surprised everyone by doing that himself.But soon after this achievement the dead body of this adolescent prodigy was found on the sea beach at the foot of the temple.Legend says that Dharmapada laid down his life to save his community.

 

 

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