Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kalapahad




The most popular theory about the root of the fall of Konark temple rests with the Kalapahad, the general of Bengal Sultan Sulaiman Karann. According to some accounts Kalapahad was formerly a Hindu Kayasth officer, however he had converted to Islam. According to Afsanah-i-Shahan of Shaikh Kabir Batini , he was a Batini Afghan. According to the history of Orissa, Kalapahad invaded Orissa in 1508. He destroyed Konark temple, as well as a number of Hindu temples in Orissa. The Madala Panji of Puri Jagannath temple describes how Kalapahad attacked Orissa in 1568. Including Konark temple,
he broke most of the images in most of the Hindu temples in Orissa. Though the stone walls are of 20 to 25 feet (7.6 m) thick, he somehow managed to displace the Dadhinauti (Arch stone) and thus caused the tower to collapse. He also damaged most of the images and other side temples of Konark. Due to displacement of the Dadhinauti, the tower gradually collapsed and the roof of the Mukasala was also damaged, due to the stones falling down from the temple top.

Orissa came under Muslim control in 1568. There were constant attempts to destroy the Hindu temples. The Pandas (priests) of Puri, to save the sanctity of the Puri temple, took away the Lord Jagannath from the Srimandir and kept the image in a secret place. Similarly, it is said that the Pandas of Konark took away the presiding deity of the Sun temple and buried it under the sand for years. Latter on the image was said to have been removed to Puri and kept in the temple of Indra, in the compound of the Puri Jagannath temple. According to others, the Puja image of the Konark temple is yet to be discovered. But others hold the view that the Sun image now kept in the National Museum of Delhi was the presiding deity of the Konark Sun temple.

The Sun worship in the Konark temple ended upon the removal of the sacred image from the temple. This resulted in the end of pilgrimages to Konark. The port at Konark was also closed, due to pirate attacks. Konark was as glorious a city for Sun worship as it was for commercial activities, but after the cessation of these activities, Konark became deserted and was left to develop as a dense forest for years.

In 1626 the then king of Khurda, Raja Narasimha Dev, son of Purusottam Dev, took away the Sun image to Puri along with two other moving deities - Sun and Moon. Now they are found in a temple in the compound of Puri Jagannath temple.

As described earlier there was a big block of stone called Navagraha Paata placed in front of the Mukhasala. The then king of Khurda removed the block. The king had taken away many sculptured stones from Konark and constructed some portions of Puri temple with them. During Marahatta's time the outer compound wall of the Puri temple was constructed of stones from Konark temple.

It is reported that among all the temples the Naata Mandir or the Dancing hall of Konark was in its original form for the longest period, and that it was broken intentionally since it was considered an unnecessary structure during the Marahata administration.

In the year 1779, a Marhatta Sadhu had taken away the Arun Pillar from Konark and put it in front of the Lion's Gate of Puri Jagannath temple. Thus by the end of 18th century Konark lost all its glories and had been turned to a dense forest. In course of time, the temple area thus became devoid of people, covered with dense forest, full of sand, filled with wild animals and became the abode of pirates. It is said that even the locals feared to go to Konark in broad daylight

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