Surya (also well-known as Aditya) is the Hindu god the the Sun. That is thought about the creator that the universe and also the resource of all life. That is the supreme spirit who brings light and also warmth come the world. Each day he travels throughout the skies in his gold chariot traction by seven horses and also driven through red Aruna, a personification that Dawn. The god"s most famous temple is in ~ Konarak in Orissa, north-east India yet he to be worshipped throughout the Indian subcontinent. Still crucial figure in Hinduism today, that is additionally a minor divine being in Buddhism.

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Associations & Mythology

Surya is recognized by many different names and also epithets which incorporate Vivasvat (Brilliant), Savitr (the Nourisher), Bhaskara (Light-maker), Dinakara (Day-maker), Lokacaksuh (Eye of the World), Graharaja (King of the Constellations), and Sahasra-kirana (Of a 1,000 rays). Vishnu, who later mostly replaces Surya"s role in the Hindu pantheon, is referred to as Surya-Narayana in his incarnation as the sun.


Surya first appears in literary works in the Rigveda, earliest of the Vedas sacred texts and composed in between 1500 and also 1000 BCE. The bringer of the Sun, Surya was assumed to journey his chariot throughout the sky and also defeat the demons the darkness. That is represented because of this in a doorway relief at the 2nd-century BCE Buddhist cave temples and also monk cells of Bhaja, Shunga in west India.


The bringer of the Sun, Surya was thought to ride his chariot across the skies & loss the demons of darkness.

According to part myths Surya is the child of Kasyapa (a Vedic sage) and also Aditi (Infinite Heavens), in rather he is the offspring of Dyaus (Sky), and also in still others his father is Brahma. Surya had actually three offspring through Samjna (Conscience), the daughter of Visvakarma. These were Vaivasvata (one the the 14 original men or Manu), Yama (god that the dead), and also Yami (goddess of the Yamuna river). Unfortunately, Samjna ended up being so tired of Surya"s excellent light the she one day gave him a handmaid, Chaya (Shade), and also left him to live a life of enjoy in the forests, transformed into a mare. Surya was no to it is in so quickly deprived though and disguised together a stallion mated v Samjna. The resulting offspring to be Revanta (chief that the Guhyakas) and also two twin sons, the youthful Ashvins, that travel prior to his chariot in their own golden version or top top horseback.


Meanwhile, Visvakarma chipped off some of Surya"s brilliance, maybe to shot and dim the god and also make him a tiny easier because that his daughter come live with. From these blazing fragments were made miscellaneous weapons of the gods, consisting of Vishnu"s discus, Shiva"s trident, Kubera"s club, and also Karttikeya"s lance.

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Various other offspring periodically attributed to Surya encompass the monkey chef Sugriva, Ushas, the personification that Dawn in early texts, and also Sani, the personification the the earth Saturn. Surya is taken into consideration the chief of the nine planets of Vedic antiquity. These are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, add to the solar and lunar shadows (ascending and also descending nodes) the Rahu and also Ketu, every visible to the nude eye. Jointly they are recognized as the Navagraha.


In other stories involving Surya, the sun-god gave the White Yajurveda (a arsenal of mantras) to the sage Yajnavalkya. Ever before generous, Surya likewise gave the wonder syamantaka gem come Satrajit, a nobleman well-known for his devout worship of the god. This stone, if the owner to be a good person, might produce a large quantity of gold on a day-to-day basis and dispelled all fears. If the owner was evil, climate it verified their undoing with deadly consequences.

Worship

Surya and also the Adityas, the cumulative name because that the solar deities, were particularly popular in the Vedic period, the sun-god being considered at that time among the three most crucial gods. Later, Surya was replaced in prominence by such deities as Shiva and Vishnu. Still, to part he remains critical god in both India and also Nepal. He is celebrated during the harvest festival of Pongal in southern India and also by Tamils in general. Smarta followers additionally consider him among their most crucial gods. Pendant of the god are well-known as Sauryas. Surya appears in the important Gayatri mantra i beg your pardon is recited indigenous the Vedas as a preliminary come its study. Finally, in Buddhism Surya is considered to dwell in and protect shrines.


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Temple of Surya, Konarak
Anshika42 (CC BY-SA)

Temples to Surya

The god had countless temples and also shrines across ancient India but certainly the most celebrated temple constructed in honour that Surya is in the Orissa region at Konarak. Constructed in the 13th century CE using sandstone, it has 12 pairs of huge stone wheels included into the political parties of the structure to stand for the month of the year and also give the impression the entirety temple is the chariot the Surya. The effect is further enhanced by seven horses sculpted in ~ its front and standing either next of the staircase. The cult the Surya was established at the site by Narasimha i (r. 1238-1264 CE). Statues of the sun-god adorn niches ~ above the holy place exterior. One example panel reflects Surya put on a conical crown and also standing above his seven chariot horses. He is bedecked in jewels and accompanied through a smaller figure of Aruna.

Another famed temple specialized to the god is at Martand in the Srinagar valley of Kashmir. It was constructed in the second fifty percent of the 8 hours century CE through the Karkota king Lalitaditya Muktapida. The limestone holy place is an interesting example of the affect of Classical design in the an ar and has fluted columns and Corinthian-like fundings in the rectangular colonnade which steps 67 x 42 metres and surrounds the temple proper. Now the holy place is a mere destroy of its previous self, but it remains the faster Hindu monument in Kashmir.

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Surya in Hindu Art

Surya appears both in figure sculpture and also on temples throughout India. That is often portrayed wearing high boots and also a flow tunic which represent his coming from an additional world (Parthian or Kushan?). This unusual iconography proceeds right approximately the 12th century CE throughout India; an excellent example is the bronze figure from Kashmir now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Surya might ride his chariot led by seven equines or a solitary horse with seven heads (representing the colours of the rainbow and also seven chakras), all v rays of light shining from them. Unlike many other Hindu god Surya is usually portrayed with just two arms and not the usual four. In the Cham arts of ancient Vietnam and also Cambodia, Surya is often shown riding a horse and wielding a substantial sword, no doubt, in referral to his day-to-day slaying that the demons of darkness.

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Depictions of the god top top Ossian temples show Surya holding lotuses in every hand and wearing a jewelled crown and also loincloth. The outstanding instances of this kind are the environment-friendly chlorite panel dominated by the life-size figure of Surya native his holy place at Konarak, now in the national Museum, new Delhi and the polished slate panel from Ganga Sagar, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Editorial ReviewThis write-up has to be reviewed because that accuracy, reliability and also adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

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Mark is a background writer based in Italy. His one-of-a-kind interests encompass pottery, architecture, civilization mythology and also discovering the ideas that all worlds share in common. He holds one MA in political Philosophy and also is the publishing Director at WHE.