State gets proposal for construction of 2nd Konark Temple

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday received a proposal for construction of a second Konark temple in the state as the 13th century original edifice was facing decay and unlikely to stand for more than 100 years.
"We have received a proposal for construction of a Sun Temple like the structure at Konark from Padma Bibhusan Raghunath Mohapatra, an eminent stone sculptor," Tourism and Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty told reporters after presiding over a high level meeting on this subject.
The minister said he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister. The famous Sun Temple at Konark was built by King Narasimhadeva of Ganga dynasty in 13th century, probably in 1238.
Stating that the proposal was in the preliminary stage, he said the government would decide whether the same size structure could be built or a model of the original temple.
The eminent stone sculptor Mohapatra had earlier also made such proposal before the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi through former Chief Minister J B Patnaik.
"Indira Gandhi had given her consent for construction of the second Konark temple. But, the idea was abandoned in view of war against Pakistan in 1971," Mohapatra said.
Mohapatra, who has the credit of constructing many temples across the country and abroad, sought the state government's help for realising his dream project. 
"I requested the government to provide land for the proposed second Sun Temple at Konark as the 13th century structure is in the process of decay. We can certainly build the second Konark temple," said Mohapatra, who has carved the gigantic 18 feet long and 15 feet high Konark Horse presently installed at Master Canteen Square here.
Mohapatra's Konark Wheel in red sand stone was placed at the inaugural ceremony of India International Trade Fair in 1980 and now put at Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi.
"We are successors of the artists who had created Konark Temple in 13th century. Therefore, we have traditional now-how to play with stones," Mohapatra said, adding, Odias were talented enough to create another Sun Temple.
Mohaptra's proposal to the state government has received statewide acclaim.
The students of Gangadhar Meher (Autonomous) College in Sambalpur yesterday gave a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the artist for construction of the second Konark temple.
Mohapatra was invited to the college for felicitation for being winner of Padma Bibhusan award.