This UNESCO heritage site in Odisha was built by King Narasimha I to celebrate victory over Muslim ruler

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New Delhi: Odisha, which observes its foundation day on April 1, is home to hundreds and thousands of historical monuments and grand old temples that reflect the vivid culture and illustrious history of the state. Some monuments were constructed to fortify and safeguard the providences from invasion, while others were developed by rulers to mark their victory over enemy. The Sun Temple at Konark, which is now considered a UNESCO heritage site, is one such magnificent reflection of the glorious victory of King Narasimha over his enemy.

Narasimha I: Who built the Sun Temple to mark his victory over Muslim invader in Bengal

Narasimha I, the son of Anangabhima, was the king of the Ganga Dynasty and a warrior of the Kalinga region. He ruled from 1238 CE to 1264 CE and was known for his strong moves against Muslim rulers. He was one of those Indian rulers who stood against the Islamic expansion over India by Turko-Afghan invaders of Eastern India. Narasimha I, the first king of Kalinga to use the title of Gajapati (Lord of the elephants), invaded southern Bengal in 1243, defeated the Muslim ruler who constantly threatened the Eastern Ganga Dynasty and captured the capital Gauda. To mark his victory over the enemy, Narasimha I constructed the Sun Temple at Konark as he was a great follower of Lord Jagannath.

His father Anangabhima had successfully protected his kingdom from the Turko-Afghan rulers of Bengal. Chasing the invaders on backfoot, Anangabhima had managed to invade Rarh, Gauda and Varendra in Bengal.

Sun Temple, Konark

Perched on the eastern shores of the Indian subcontinent, the Sun Temple at Konark is one of the most magnificent examples of architectural beauty and engineering marvels of the monarchic period. The magnificent reflection of art and culture of the state, the temple is a marvellous testimony to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa, now termed as Odisha. The temple is a personification of divinity and cultural believe in Sun, the sun god. This magnificent example of architectural marvel is a depiction of a chariot of the Sun God, with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses. Constructed in the 13th century, the temple is one of country’s most famous Brahman sanctuaries and was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1984.

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