The Sun Temple of Konark was built around 13th century and took 12 years to build and required 12000 artisans. The temple is not only famous for its mammoth structure and beautiful architecture but also for the stories that lives in the folklore for ages. One of the stories that describe the completion of the construction of the temple is the story of a 12 year old kid ‘Dharmapada’ who sacrificed his life to save twelve thousand artisans.
The construction work of Sun Temple of Konark was over seen by Sibei Samantray Mahapatra and Bishu Maharana as the chief architect. Local story tells that Sibei Samantray got the blessing of Goddess Ramchandi for this work. The condition of the soil where the temple was to be erected, originally was so bad, that the chief architect, Bishu Maharana, who was entrusted with the work, became very much upset. But when there was no other way but to build on the same place on account of its sanctity, he with great difficulty managed to carry on the work. There was a contract between the king and workers, that no one will be allowed to go away until the whole work was completed.
|Conjectural Restoration of Konark Temple by James Fergusson|
(from "The History of Indian and Eastern Architecture" by James Fergusson, 1876)
Anyway the construction was going on, and it was nearing its completion, suddenly the chief architect Bisu Maharana and his workers faced the difficulty on fixing up the Kalasha (temple crown stone) in its proper position. In the mean time the chief architect's son 'Dharmapada' came to see his father, as he was away from home for a long time. Dharmapada was born a month after his father's departure, and twelve years had gone by. Dharmapada was always sad as he had never seen his father and his mother never tell him much about his father. On his 12th birthday he asked his mother a gift and his mother told him about his father and his responsibility to build the Sun Temple of Konark near the sea. Dharmapada decided to meet his father and after a long journey he reached the construction site. He proceeded to the site and did not take much time to spot his father. After meeting his father and other artisans he came to know that they were not happy and facing a major problem. Though Bishu Maharana was glad to see his son, he could not conceal the fact of his not being able to put the Kalasha properly. He said, 'my boy, though the construction work is almost complete, we are experiencing some difficulties now in putting the kalasha. If we fail to do it within a resonable time, the king will detach our heads from our body'. On hearing this the boy immediately got up at the top and discovered something wrong in the work. He immediatly rectified the defect and made the Kalasha to go into its proper position.
The work was done but the artisans were still thinking of their fate, that if the king comes to know all about this, he will certainly think that the artisans were not doing their job properly, which a little boy had done in such a short time. Dharmapada never wanted glory, name or fame for his achievements. He was happy that he saved so may lives by completing the temple for Sun God. Dharmapada was very much shocked and to cover up the matter, he climbed onto the temple top and jumped off into the deep blue waters of the sea to sacrfice his life.
A young boy who achieved the ultimate glory by completing the greatest temple ever built, sacrificed his life to save the life of others. After hundred of years, the Sun Temple is ruined but Dharmapada still be alive in the legend and in the ambitions of every artisan of Odisha. There are many such stories related to the completion of the work at Konark but their accuracy is still in doubt and there is no such historical proof against them.