Decorated waist band of Sun God


There are three figures of the Sun God at three different sides of the temple. These three figures of the Sun God are positioned in such a way to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and evening. In the Vedas, Surya is conceived as an unified manifestation of the Brahmanical Trinity

  • the Morning Sun being identified with Brahma, the creator;
  • the Mid-Day Sun with Maheswara, the destroyer and
  • the Evening Sun with Vishnu, the preserver
It is probably this conception that the artist had wanted to express in the three figures of Surya, on the three sides of Konark Sun Temple.

Pravhata Surya - Morning Sun - The Creator

Figure of Morning Sun at Konark Temple

The First figure of Sun God on the the Southern side wall called 'Mitra' is described as the Pravhata Surya (Morning Sun or Rising Sun). As the plan of the temple slightly makes an angle with the cardinal directions, the image of the south, is flooded with the rays of the morning-Sun and is therefore significant for its expression of youth and activity, justifying the description of Pravhata Surya. It is decorated with typical set of ornaments on the arms, neck and in the ears. The head-dress is also typical. The waist band is provided with tassels hanging down from it. This is called the avyanga (waist band) and is the Indianised form of Aiwiyonghen the secret waist girdle of the Iranians. The drapery, reaching upto the knee, is wonderfully carved. The bottom of the pedestal is decorated with figures of women in various poses. Some are playing on musical instrument and some are in dancing poses. It is also decorated with the figures of seven horses driven by Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, sitting near the feet of the statue with the reins of the horses in his hands. The King and the Queen are sitting on the pedestal with folded hands and the sword is lying nearby. In the panel two standing figures of male attendants are seen with shields and swords in their hands. His four wives-Rajani, Rikshubha, Chhaya and Suvarsasa are seen just above the two attendants. Bramha and Vishnu are sitting at a little higher level. At the topmost corners of the panel, Vidyadhars are seen offering garlands of flowers from the Heven.

Madhyana Surya - Mid Day Sun - The Destroyer

Figure of Mid-day Sun at Konark Temple

The second figure of Sun God on the Western side wall called 'Punsan' is described as the Madhyana Surya (Mid-day Sun), standing with full vigour and personality. Decoration of the panel, ornaments and drapery used, the presence of King and Queen, the seven horses and the figure of Aruna are almost similar to the Prabhata Surya (Morning Sun) who also wears upanat (boot). Some describe the Sun with Upanat-Pinaddha-Padayugalam (wearing boots in his both legs). It is stated in the Brihat Samhita, that the Sun God should be dressed in the fashion of a northerner, called Udichyavesa.

Astachala Surya - Evening Sun - The Preserver

Figure of Evening Sun at Konark Temple

The third figure of Sun God on the the Northern side wall called 'Haritasva' is described as the Astachala Surya (Evening Sun or Setting Sun). The figure brings out beautifully the tired expression which is the result of a hard days work, when all the other horses are completely tired, he is any how completing his journey by riding on the back of the last horse who is also found to be stooping with its folded legs.

Face Comparision of Three Sun God Idols

My guide explained me that the face of the three Sun God figures is different. As per his explanation, the southern side Sun God figure represents the morning Sun, so it's face looks happy and childish, it wears a small crown. The western side Sun God figure represents the mid-day Sun, so it's face looks grave and youthful, it wears a bigger crown as compared to the morning Sun. The northern side Sun God figure represents the setting Sun, so it's face looks tired and oldish.

Face of Morning Sun
Face of Morning Sun
Happy Face - Child
The Creator
Small Crown on Head
Face of Mid-day Sun
Face of Mid-day Sun
Grave Face - Youth
The Destroyer
Big Crown on Head
Face of Evening Sun
Face of Evening Sun
Tired Face - Old
The Preserver
Big Crown on Head

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