Spice of life | When a little girl’s dream came true
What I didn’t know was that the Konark temple is not really a temple; it’s an archaeological site. It’s a Unesco world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of India.punjab Updated: May 12, 2017 10:59 IST
I remember my school history book having a picture of the wheel of the Sun God’s chariot at the Konark temple at Bhubaneshwar. I fantasised about visiting it. Last month, we had the fortune of visiting the Lingaraj temple, Jagannath temple and also the Sun Temple at Konark.
What I didn’t know was that the Konark temple is not really a temple; it’s an archaeological site. It’s a Unesco world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of India.
The entire structure is apparently in the shape of a chariot, having 12 pairs of wheels pulled by seven horses of which only one is there now. The idol of the Sun God has been shifted out and is now installed in the temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri.
We looked on as our guide told us about the figures carved into images of kings, queens, men, women, children, horses, elephants, lions, tigers, flora and fauna.
There were panels and panels of sculptured plaques all around. What struck me was that the faces of the figurines had different features. Some faces were typically Indian. Others had Mongoloid features, some were Buddhist and even Indonesian. It was proof of the fact that the artisans who had made these panels were from different cultures and origins. A thought crossed my mind: How tolerant and accepting of others views Indians are! How large-hearted of them to allow another’s culture and ideas be reflected in a structure of this magnificence.
Isn’t this tolerance the reason that India has had such a glorious past, where people of all ideas and mindsets live in harmony? Yes, here each one lives for the other and everyone lives for God. Barring some misled individuals, Indians are tolerant. We believe in Ahimsa parmo dharma (Non-violence is the ultimate duty). This essentially refers to non-violence and tolerance in thought, word and deed.
There were myriad stories being told by those hands that were no more, but had created so many intriguing stories that could invoke anyone’s imagination. As I stared starry-eyed at one of the wheels of the Sun’s chariot peering into the timeless intricacies carved therein with incredible precision, my head bowed in reverence to those hands that had left behind this visual extravaganza for us.
A song from an old Hindi film played in my ears, “Geet gaya patharon ne ….”
Back home, as I write this, I silently bless all the craftsmen who left a part of themselves in that laterite stone and put life into the lifeless. Come to think of it, the form of the sculpture is innately present in the stone. The unwanted portions have to be chiselled away to reveal the form within. Isn’t this what life is all about? Removing the unwanted from our persona to reveal the divinity within us. In case of the self, the sculptor could be the self or a fault-finder, a well-wisher; a parent, a friend, a mentor or a guru. Each sculpture in stone was the personification of a timeless lesson.
They say that one can go on a pilgrimage only when God wills it. I smile to myself as I realise that a little girl’s dream just came true, with so many add-ons!
I am reminded Albert Einstein’s words, “A coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
The writer is a Chandigarh-based freelance contributor