Konarak, or more correctly, "Konark", or the Place of the Sun, in Odisha was one of the first places of historical interest that I visited over the last fifty years or so.It was way back in 1967. The great Sun Temple fascinated me not only for its great size but, equally, for the intricacy of its carvings. The marvellous wheels of the "Chariot of the Sun", as the temple resembles, are masterpieces, as are the finely carved figures of dancers.
But for an inveterate nature lover such as myself, it was the wondrous frieze of elephants right at the bottom of the structure that completely fascinated me. For possibly one hundred metres this frieze ran around the base of the Konark temple, each metre depicting elephants in different poses and postures, in the most natural way that told of the long association of the sculptors with the elephants and their ways. It is not only great art, but a study in natural history.