Jan. 12, 2022, 11:44 a.m. by Karuwaki Speaks ( 309 views)
Konark or "konarka" refers to the corner that worships the SunGod,Aditya.The name of Konark temple is an amalgamation of two words--Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the Sun.The region is also called Arka Kshetra.According to legend, Samba, son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy and was cured by the Sun God after 12 years of penance in mitravana, near chandrabhaga.
Pleased by his penance, the Sun God instructed Samba to go and take a dip in the sea at Konark. The afflicted Samba was cured from leprosy as soon as he took a dip in the sea at Konark.While Samba was taking a bath in the river Chandrabhaga, he discovered a statue of Surya standing on a lotus pedestal holding two lotuses in both hands.
He carried the statue to his hermitage and installed it in a temple built by him.Samba Purana is one of the "saura upapurana",a text dedicated to the worship of Lord Sun and comprises a number of narratives dealing with creation, details of solar system, eclipses, geography of the earth, description of Surya and his attendants, manners and customs, rites and rituals, recitations of mantras etcetera.
The text also mentions Krishna's son Samba being infected by leprosy after being cursed by sage Durvasa, and subsequently being cured by worshipping Surya.The temple constructed by him in Mitravana on the banks of the Chandrabhaga was out of gratitude to Sun God.This whole narrative is presented as a conversation between the king Brihadbala of Ikshvaku dynasty and the sage Vashishtha.
According to the Bhavishya Purana, as the local Brahmins did not agree to worship this idol of the sun god, Samba brought eighteen Maga/ Magha families (the sun worshippers) from Shakadvipa (Iran) who not only performed the rituals but also popularized the cult of sun worship in this part of the country.The "maga"brahmins had a mysterious way of reading the scriptures which was alien to the Brahmins residing in India.
R C. Hazra—a preeminent scholar of Puranic literature—believes that the specific type of Sun-worship by the magas to have gained immense popularity under Scythian patronage; hence, the Indian Brahmins were compelled to draft the Samba Purana, infuse aspects of their cult into prevalent , and accommodate them in the elites.
But, historical evidence shows the present Konark temple was built by Narashimhadev I of the Ganga Dynasty towards the end of 12th centuryover a pre-existing temple.This temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels, carrying the Sun God, Surya, across heavens. What is interesting to note is that thousands of years ago, Hindus knew about the curative power of Sun. The unique festival of Samba Dashami in eastern Orissa is observed on the 10th day during the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in the month of Pausha.
The elaborate rituals of Samba Dashami are performed by the women folk in three stages throughout the day with great fanfare.The women worship the Sun God for the welfare of their children and for each child in the family, a particular delicacy is offered to Surya on the first Samba dashami after the birth (colloquially known as badhā-kudhā).
Depending on the number of family members,a variety of khichdi,puri,sweets, pithas, are cooked at both sunrise & noon.Women gather at the tulasi chaura with a bowl containing turmeric water and betel leaves. The cooked food is served on brinjal leaves and the women pray to the Sun God’s reflection in the turmeric water bowl. They also read ‘Samba Dashami Brata Katha’.The rituals culminate in the evening,also known as ‘Mahakala Puja’ and a special 'Budha Chakuli' and 'Ghadghadia Tarkari' are offered as prasad.
Families also gather to take a holy dip in the Chandrabhaga and offer prayers to the Sun God.Samba Dasami rituals are also celebrated with great fanfare at the Biranchi Narayan Sun Temple, or the Wooden Konark, located in the town of Buguda in Ganjam, Odisha.