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‘Konarka Manthan’ Symposium at IIT Bhubaneswar unravels Building Materials and Architectural Marvels of the Sun Temple

Bhubaneswar, 22nd March 2024: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar recently organized a one-day Symposium titled ‘Konarka Manthan’, dedicated to unraveling the mysteries behind the Building Materials and Architectural Marvels of the Sun Temple. Hosted by the School of Minerals, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering of IIT Bhubaneswar, the symposium delved into this intriguing subject, exploring one of the most outstanding engineering feats of ancient India. Prof. Kishore Kumar Basa, Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority (NMA), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India; Dr. N. C Pal, OSD-cum-Engineer-in-Chief (Civil), PWD, Govt. of Odisha; and Prof. Shreepad Karmalkar, Director of IIT Bhubaneswar, graced the inaugural session.

Dr. Soobhankar Pati, Convenor of the Symposium, delivered the welcome address, setting the tone for the program. Prof. Karmalkar highlighted the symposium’s significance in not only showcasing architectural marvels but also celebrating the ingenuity of our ancestors. He emphasized the innovative use of locally available materials like stone and iron beams in constructing the Sun Temple, showcasing the region’s rich technological heritage.

Prof. Basa delved into the historical perspective of monuments, stressing the importance of collective memory in understanding ancient constructions.

Dr. N. C. Pal discussed Kalinga Architecture and structural design concepts prevalent in ancient Odisha, emphasizing the use of corrosion-resistant materials in temple construction. Prof. O.N. Mohanty, via online mode, focused on Indian metallurgical science and the use of metals in ancient times, particularly discussing the corrosion-resistant properties of iron beams in monuments.

The technical session, led by experts such as Dr. Dibishada B. Garnayak, Dr. Sangeeta Mishra, Dr. Sunil Kumar Patnaik, and Dr. Siva Shankar Panda, covered topics ranging from iron making to the history of sun worship. Attendees gained insights into metallurgical practices, the quality of iron produced, and the architectural significance of the Sun Temple. Discussions on the types of bricks used in ancient temples and the utilization of iron in Buddhist sites further enriched scholarly discourse.

Dr. Naresh Chandra Sahu proposed a vote of thanks, acknowledging the contributions of all involved. Dr. Parthasarathi De, Co-convener of the symposium was also involved in the organization of the program.

Additionally, IIT Bhubaneswar is conducting a research project titled “Forging the Past: Investigating the Manufacturing of Iron Beams Used in Konarka Sun Temple and Analyzing Their Socio-Economic Impact on the Local Community.” Selected by the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) under the Ministry of Education, Government of India, this project has secured funding under the Bharatiya Gyan Samvardhan Yojana’s Competitive Grants Program for 2022-23. It aims to unravel the manufacturing methods of the iron beams at the Konarka Sun Temple, shedding light on India’s rich but forgotten technological prowess and its socio-economic implications on the local community.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.
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