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Orissa

Fishermen at dawn

Konarak Temple, dawn

Fishermen drying sails

Konarak coast 1

Fishermen emptying their nets

Konarak coast

Konarak Temple, wheel

Konarak Temple, sculpture

Konarak Temple

Village house decoration

Village house, courtyard

Village, Orissa

Village house, Orissa

Village shrine

Village house

On the Bay of Bengal, soft, warm breakers roll in off a shallow coast still full of fish, and in the fertile coastal strip stands the ancient, temple of Konarak, now in ruins. Remarkably, the accounts kept while it was being built, around 1240, have survived. They tell how many elephants were needed to level the site, of explosives used in quarrying, of the casting of the iron girders and of forests of bamboo cut for scaffolding. A workman falls to his death and his widow is awarded land. The king appoints a spy to listen to the workers' conversations: we are told how much the spy was paid. Construction took 10 years, and all the details and their cost are listed. At last the workforce is paid off, the masons, the sculptors, even the gatherers of medical herbs for the workforce, the sellers of 'pan' and the sweepers, all receive their rewards.

The temple commemorates King's Narasingha's victory over the Moghuls, halting a conquest that had swept across North India in a few decades. Damaged only by time, Konarak remains a great, exuberant celebration of Indian thought.

The decorations on the village houses are the work of the women. They are renewed yearly, and occupy the broad areas of mud wall.with striking boldness

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