Puri by Rakhee Mullick

Puri

THE KONARK TEMPLE CHARIOT WHEEL: Sun Temple of Konark is renowned throughout the world for its stone sculptures. The temple was designed in the shape of a huge chariot drawn by 7 mighty spirited horses on 12 pairs (total 24 wheels) of gorgeously decorated wheels at its base. The size of the wheel is of 9 feet 9 inches in diameter. Various theories have been advocated regarding the significance of Konark wheel. According to some, the 7 horses represent the days of the week and the 12 pairs of wheels represent the 12 months of the year and the 24 wheels signifies 24 hours of a day and the 8 major spokes signifies prahars (three hour period) of a day. According to others, the wheels of the chariot have been interpreted as the 'Wheel of Life'. They portray the cycle of creation, preservation and achievement of realisation. These 12 pairs of wheels may also possibly represent the 12 zodiac signs. Some also believe that the Wheel of Konark is the same as the Dharmachakra of the Buddhists - The Wheel of Karma, The Wheel of the Law. The size and architecture of the 24 wheels is same but each one of them has been differently carved all over. The thicker ones are all carved with circular medallions at their centres on the widest part of the face.The art work of every wheel is different. The wheels of the chariot are also symbolic and have been interpreted as the 'Sun Dial'.