Since the time of Mahammad
Ghori, Orissa was raided several times by the Muslims, but the Hindu kings of
Orissa could resist them definitely for a longer period. The Hindus were aware
that it would be rather impossible for them to tackle with such a warrior
nation and to drive them permanently out of their their country. Still they went
on taking aggrasive parts in such a way, that they could delay the Muslim
occupation in Orissa, for about two centuries more.
By the middle of the 13th century, when the Muslims had conquered the whole of
the northern India and most parts of neighbouring Bengal, there was hardly any
power which could check their advance and it was thought that the Hindu Kingdom
of Orissa would soon be overrun by them. At that time Narasimhadeva I started
taking the offensive against them.
After the death of Sultan Iltutmish, in 1236 A.D., the throne of Delhi remained week for sometime, when
Nasiruddin Mahammad succeeded him and appointed one Tughan Khan, a Governor of
Bengal. A great fight took place between the Muslim army, under the said Tughan
Khan and Narasimhadeva I, at Katasin, in the year 1243 A.D., where the former were
completely defeted and ran away. The heavy loss of lives in this war was so
severe. Narasimhadeva's victory in this war must have enormously enhanced his prestige in the eyes of
the contemporary Hindu Kings and as such, he wanted to build a temple to
represent both, a shrine and a Kirti-Stambha (victory-memorial) to commemorate
his victory according to his royal status and prestige.
Purpose of Building Konark at this Place
The beauty of the Sun-rise and the
roaring voice of the sea charmed Narasimhadeva since his early life. The river
chandrabhaga which is now dead, was once flowing within a mile to the north of
the temple site and was joining the sea. On its banks, existed flourishing towns
and important trading centres. Trade was carried on with foreign countries as
well, by sea routes, as there was no better communication other than the river
in those days.
Narasimhadeva had preferred the place
for his proposed temple, for not only enabling him to bring his building
meterials from different places by the said river, but the sanctity of the was
also considered by him. In this connection there is an interesting legend which
says that, once Samba, the son of Sri Krishna, incurred the displeasure of
Narada. Who revenged himself by getting Samba afflicted with
leprosy.Ultimately, when Samba, was found innocent, he was advised to practice
penance in the Maitreyi forest for 12 years, to please Surya(Sun God) to cure
him of his disease. He acted accordingly and after the prescribed period the Sun
appeared before him and asked to recite the twenty-one different names of the
deity. Next morning when Samba was taking his bath in chandrabhaga, his hands
came in contact with something in the water. He immediately lifted it up and saw
an image of Surya (Sun God) standing on a lotus pedestal, holding two lotuses in
his both hands. He carried the image to his Ashrama (hermitage) and installed it
in a temple, built by him. Samba was however completely cured, after sometime, by
worshipping the deity.
Besides the sanctity and the
favourable surroundings, the presence of majestic sea eternally roaring and
rolling within a striking distance, was perhaps an added attraction for them.