The temple is constructed in a stunning design of colossal chariot with twenty-four wheels drawn towards the dawn by seven galloping horses which gives the impression of carrying Sun god across heaven. These seven horses which pulls the temple eastwards represents the days of the week. The main entrance of the temple is the eastern gate where the statues of two lions killing war elephants are installed. Beneath the elephant is a man. Here the statue of lion symbolizes pride and elephant symbolizes money which further displays that these two errors (pride and money) can destroy a human being completely.
The massive structure of the temple has a pyramidal roof made of sandstone that rises 30m in height. It is embellished with highly sophisticated and cultured iconographies that depict the day-to-day activities of contemporary life. Temple’s base is covered with sculptures consisting deities like lord Vishnu, lord Shiva and goddess Shakthi are intricately carved and scenes of life at court. There are some mythical creatures also drawn on the walls that separate these figures by the drawings of birds and animals like snakes, giraffe and elephants. Another uniqueness of this temple is the massive iron beams that are placed in between every two stones. These beams are used to construct the higher floors of the temple. The other exclusivity of this place is, the peak of the main temple was created using 52 tons of magnet. The arrangements of the main magnet and the other magnets in its unique way resulted the main idol of the temple to float in air.
Like many other Indian temples, Konark Sun temple also consists of several well-structured spatial units. The elaborate view of the Sun temple displays the intricately carved audience hall ‘Jagamohana’ which is towards eastern side of the temple. The roof of Jagamohana hall is made of horizontal tiers grouped in three stages with life-size female sculptures and two stupendous crowning members surmount the whole. In front and farther to the east is the dancing hall ‘Nata mandir’. The principal sanctuary of the temple was surmounted by a high tower with a crowning cap called ‘Shikara’ that was razed in 19th century. The aesthetical and visually overwhelming sculptures depicted on the plinth of the temple in between the wheels are entirely decorated with musicians, dancers and erotic scenes as well. The entrance of the temple is towards the East-West direction which is another notable point here. In addition of more information about the temple is the area of Sun temple at Konark is about 857ft by 540ft.
Just beyond the entrance is a pair of staircase that leads to shrine. The image is beautifully carved in high-quality green chlorite stone that is the masterpiece of Konark. The idol of lord Surya depicted as the Sun god wearing tall riding boots and is accompanied with small figure of Aruna (the charioteer) at the feet of Lord. After climbing down from this place remains the inner sanctum where the deity was originally enshrined.
The temple is constructed in such a way that the first rays of the rising Sun falls directly on the main entrance of the temple through Nata mandir and gets reflected from the diamond that is just located at the center of the idol in the focal sanctum. But these magnets were removed by the Britishers to get the magnetic stone during the colonial period. There are three images of Lord Surya in three different directions of the temple that are accurately positioned at the appropriate track to catch the rays of sun at dawn, noon and evening. Thus the temple indicates the passage of time that is under the control of Sun god.
The wheels of the temple chariot:
The construction of this temple is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture. One of the main attractions of this temple is the 24 wheels which are carved around the base of the temple. Each wheel is of about 10 feet in diameter with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. These wheels are located in both north and south sides of the temple. The specialty of these wheels is, it stands as the symbolic motifs referring to the cycle of all the seasons. The spokes present in the wheel create a sundial and the shadow formed on these wheels helps in calculating the precise time of the day. The eight spokes present in each wheel also represent the eight ideal phases of woman’s life. And the twelve pair of wheels denotes the twelve months of the year. There are hunting scenes, military processions and thousands of rampaging elephants that decorates the above and below space of the wheels. There is also a depiction of giraffe towards the south side of the platform that provides information that Konark traded with Africa during 13th century.
The design of the temple is a mixture of abstract and geometric forms that are refreshing to mind and a feast to the eyes. The reason for constructing this temple with such mesmerizing sculptures is a mystery. However according to the localites it is said that when the soldiers won the war and returned with a victory, the king built this temple with such extraordinary erotic sculptures drawn from Kama Sutra which would arouse the victorious soldiers and they could have kids who would become soldiers in future and serve the king. And one of the unique artistic achievements of this temple is, it is constructed over twelve years by 1,200 artisans with the deep commitment of its master builder Bisu Moharana. The architect, Bisu Moharana was such devoted personality who quit his birthplace just to concentrate on the construction of this temple. Later in turn his son involved in the workshop and accomplished the construction which his father was unable to complete.