Dharmapada (person)

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In the history of Odisha, Dharmapada was the son of a great architect, who completed the construction of a temple in a single night to save 1,200 craftsmen from execution, and then sacrificed his own life to prevent the story from spreading.


According to history, king Langula Narasingha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty decided to build a massive temple in Konark. The temple was to be in the shape of the sun god riding in his chariot. 1,200 craftsmen were found to work on the temple, led by one named Bishu Maharana; the project was to take five years.

As the end of the twelve years approached, Dharmapada, the son of Bishu Maharana, now 12 years of age, went to visit his father. Upon arrival, he found his father distressed; the crown on the sun god's head had yet to be completed, and the king had threatened to execute all 1,200 craftsmen if they did not finish it by morning. Although the task seemed impossible, Dharmapada single-handedly completed it.

A debate then took place among the craftsmen. Fearing for their own lives if it became known that a child had completed the work instead of them, they demanded that Dharmapada be killed, a suggestion his father strenuously resisted. At last, to settle this debate, Dharmapada jumped from the crown he had completed, killing himself and ensuring the safety of the craftsmen.


The temple that Dharmapada is said to have completed still stands in Konark today, although in a somewhat dilapidated state. Constructed in the 13th century, it has been pillaged several times since then, and has suffered severe damage. It is listed today as a World Heritage Site.

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