"High heels, see-through skirt, hand mirror, capri - 780 years ago in Konark".... Yes, you read it correctly. Konark Sun Temple was built in around 1250 by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. As per historical records, it took 12 years to complete the temple, so the construction work probably started in 1238. Today is 20th June 2018, so the temple is approximately 780 years old. Konark Sun Temple attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world for its temple architecture, colossal chariot and famous stone sculptures. Apart from the magnificent sculptures and artwork, Konark Temple also tells an interesting fact about the familiarity of people of Kalinga (i.e. ancient Odisha) towards western culture and dressing style before 780 years.
During my visit on 20th June 2018, I hired an experienced guide to help me. My guide showed me few women figures on the Konark temple walls with western dressing style. Initially I did not believe it, but when he explained about these figures in more detail, I was able to relate what he is explaining and what has been portrayed via these women figures. After my Konark visit, I started searching about these women figures portrayed with western style, but surprisingly I was unable to find anything via google. I assumed that the fact might have hidden and unknown to the entire world for many years, that's why I decided to bring it to your notice.
Whatever might be the fact, below figures on Konark Temple walls prove that our ancient Indian women were very fashionable and advanced in terms of fashion before 780 years. Look at the below sculpture, if you notice carefully, you can see the lady wearing high heels. The high heel may made from wood but that does not matter, what matters here is their knowledge about modern footwear style. You can see many other women figures on Konark Temple walls with similar footwear.
Again, my guide shown me few lady figures wearing see-through skirts. You can see the entire shape of their legs. These sculptures are depicting exemplary craftmanship of our ancient artisans. Just imagine, how they craved different types of see-through skirt on stone that reveals both legs and the skirt.
Look at few more lady sculptures with western dressing style. First three fashionable ladies are wearing skirts while the last lady is wearing a modern day capri.
Can you image people were aware about hand mirror before 780 years. The ladies in below figures might not held a glass mirror, it might be some shine or polish object, but definitely it reveals the fact that they hold a mirror like object in their hands and used it to see their face to put sindoor (red color powder put on head by Hindu married woman) on their head.
Look at few more lady sculptures below, if you watch carefully, you can see women with purse and back pack. First gorgeous lady is holding a purse while the last lady has a bag at her back, known as back pack in modern days. Now the bags are not clearly visible in these stone sculptures but I was able to relate what my guide told me.
Nobody knows how the ancient Odisha people came to know about western dressing styles 780 years ago and why the artisans carved them in various sculptures at Konark Temple, but I tried my best to present it exactly in the same way as explained by my guide. Hope you liked this page and I believe after knowing about these interesting sculptures, you must be excited to see them during your first or next Konark visit.