The Nata Mandapa of Konark

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The structure lying in front of the main Sun Temple of Konark is the Nata Mandapa (Dance Hall). It has got many pillars on it and the central four pillars being taller than the surrounding pillars suggest that it had a sloping/pyramidal roof.


In the attached image we can see a structure of a lotus with carvings, and certain sources believe that it was a part of the roof of the Nata Mandapa where there were inverted lotuses all around the ceiling of the roof. However there comes a question, that had the roof collapsed, all the lotus structures would have been damaged after falling over the hard floor of the Nata Mandapa, so how come we come across this almost intact piece of an inverted lotus?

May be the roof had collapsed after the Nata Mandapa had been buried with sand nearly upto the roof when Konark Sun Temple was lying deserted, hence the said lotus structure remained intact. Or may be the Nata Mandapa was built at a much later stage than the original Sun Temple, hence it might not have been completed, so there was no roof over it at all.

Whatever might be the reason, the Nata Mandapa contains exquisite artistic artifacts, most popular among them being the dancing and musician damsels in various dance and musical performance forms befitting to the name Nata Mandapa or the Dance Hall.

author: Kumar Aurojyoti

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