Sanyasi is my Pseudonym and this blog is a repository of my thoughts and views on various themes and is intended to stimulate your thoughts in a new perspective. Do put in your comments and be interactive
Thursday, 20 June 2013
Sex and the City : Circa 1300 AD: My sojourn at Konark:
A Visit to the Sun Temple
at Konark, in Orissa brings in reminiscence of a past on how, life was
celebrated by the elite class consisting of Kings and Priests among the kingdoms
at Kalinga. As an amateur with asubaltern mind-set, when I went there on 16th
June the hoary temple at Konark gave me glimpses oflascivious life style of the elite welldepicted and preserved in the erotic
sculptures set inamorous postures .
Konark is only 65 kms from
Bhupaneswar and on the coast of the Bay of Bengal near to the Major Port of
Paradip. The Sun temple was built by King Narasimhadeva -1 of the Eastern Ganga
dynasty of the 13th century and is a world heritage site. It was built in the form of a chariot of Sun God driven by seven horses and made of black
granite stone facing the eastern coast. The architecture of the temple which is
in the northern style is made so scientifically that whenever the sun passes
the equinox,the rays of the sun
glitters the diamond placed on the forehead of the idol. (The idol today is in National
museum Delhi and the diamond is in British museum at London). The polished
black sandstone is fixed in the columns with cast iron which are still not
rusted in spite of the saline atmosphere here. In order to create a
counterweighing balance to the iron clad structure the temple was made with
magnets installed on the top.(It is
said that these magnets deflected the compasses and hence the direction of the
Dutch and Portuguese ships steaming off shore during the 17th
century. Removal of the magnet by the British rulers from the super structure
affected the equilibrium of it ,resulting in structural damages as seen today)
It is beyond doubt that the builders of the temple in the 13th
century had a firm idea on electro magnetism, metallurgy and astronomy.
The local belief here is
that the son of Krishna from Jampavati , named Samba built the temple as a
tribute to Arka (sun) , for saving him from leprosy. However there is no
historical proof to this. According to another legend, based on the wish of the
queen of Narasimhadeva-1, the King called the master crafter, Bisa Maharana of
Kalinga and instructed him to design and construct the temple in 12 years’ time
with 1200 artisans.- The stones were shipped through local barges from the
Andhra region and physically lifted to the site of construction which was just
on the shore. It is said that the sea water during tides rose up to the sanctum
sanctorum and in one of the floods the temple was destroyed, not to mention of
the ruins created due to the iconoclasm of the Muslim rulers of Eastern India.-
In the last day of the 12th
year Bisa Maharana nd his artisans were unable to install the superstructure with only a night left. The
King visited the site and ordered Bisa Mahara to complete the work before sun
rise or to face death. However Bisa Maharana’stwelve year old son erected the structure at midnight and drowned in the
sea the next day to give credit to his father and save him and his craft men
from death .-This legend is a testimony to the arrogance of the
early Kings and Sultans who took credit and went with their names into theannual of history at the cost of talented
craftsmen of the period. A real food for thought for the subalterns.
The erotism in the
sculpture gave me a feeling that the elite enjoyed a sedentary lifestyle. The
devadasi system which was prevalent there, gave ample scope for sexual
extravaganza as temple women married an invisible God to be only used up by the priests and kings. The other
argument which came from the locals here , was that, after the Kalinga War fought by King Asoka ,
nearly one lakh and twenty thousand men died –which was nearly the whole of the young male
population - making an equally number of women with no avenues for sexual gratification,
resulting in polyandry and lesbianism and other forms of sexual voyeurism.
Being from a generation , grown up from the remnants of Victorian
moralism and later Hinduism, we may find it difficult to accept the argument thatancient India imbibed an open sexual life,
and is likely to viewthose sculptures
as voyeurism or tutelages of a maniac king. Well that is an argument
or a thought process, but the conclusion here is on the glorification and
celebration of sexuality unlike the hypocrisy of today s generation. Within the
garb of moralism we deny and negate any form of expressive physical love, be in
sex education to children or display of public affection, we are always on the
verge of moral policing whether it is the society or the state. It is quite
ironical to conclude that this repressed society of us evolved from a free and
expressive population who lived centuries ago……………………………………
The eight spokes of the
chariot wheel portrays various stages in life and the cycle of life and death.
It also depicts the division of time into 360 degrees based on the ecliptic
movement of the sun.
Lesbianism was widely prevalent and practiced among the temple dancers
Cast iron bars used for
the construction. Preserved and not rusted even after 700 years.
Temple under renovation.
saliva was believed to be an antiseptic to treat venereal diseases by women.
Sex was prevalent those times long before the west claiming to have taught us
waiting for her client.
love making in posture 69 (middle sculpture)
of rampant polyandry .
ancient version of ''women on top"'
was tired and resting after an ecstatic journey over a landscape of 13th
century eastern India