Konarka Manthan Symposium at IIT BBS unravels Building Materials and Architectural Marvels of the Sun Temple

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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.

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