Konark Sun Temple, Location, History, Timings, Ticket, Architecture, How to Reach, Attractions, Facts, Beach. About Konark Sun Temple, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Main Attractions of Konark Sun Temple, Interesting Facts, Timings, Entrance Fee, Konark Beach, Best time to visit Konark Sun Temple.
About Konark Sun Temple
Location: Kasia-Tamkuhi Road, Konark, India, In Konark, at a distance of 35 kms in north-east of Puri
Built by: King Narsingha Deva
Built in: 1250 AD
Dedicated to: Lord Surya / Sun God
Konark is also known as Konaditya. The name Konark is derived form the words Kona – Corner and Arka – Sun; it is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. Konark is also known as Arkakshetra.
This temple built in 1278 CE by the Ganga King Narasimha Deva is one of the grandest temples of India and was referred to as the Black Pagoda. The ruins of this temple were excavated in late 19th century. The tower over the Garbagriha is missing, however the Jagmohana is intact, and even in this state, it is awe inspiring.
The great ruler of Ganga dynasty with the help of 1200 artisans within the period of 12 years. The temple was designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheeels and drawn by seven mighty hourses. The temple is counted as one of prominent tourist destination and included in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its architectural greatness and also for the sophistication and abundance of sculptural work. The temple is perfect blend of Kalinga architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty, which infuses large number of travelers towards it. This Odisha classic wonder made the great poet Rabindranath Tagor to fall for it and describe its art as” Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Sun Temple of Konark has been declared a world heritage site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1984.
Built in 13th Century by King Narsimhadeva I of the Ganga dynasty, Konark temple is a stunning architectural feat. When the Muslim rule weakened in 13th Century after Mohammad Ghori’s death, Hindu kings fought numerous battles under King Narsimhadeva I. After his victory, to celebrate and remember this feat, the Sun Temple was built.
Some myths and legends are also linked with the construction of Sun Temple in Konark. It is believed that Samba, Lord Krishna’s son suffered from leprosy and to get it cured he did penance for continuous 12 years and worshipped the Sun God.
Impressed with his dedication, The Sun God or Surya blessed Samba with the Sun Temple to express his gratitude to him, after he completed his period of penance. He was also healed of his ailment by Surya.
There are also some legends regarding the temple that states that the Sun Temple, under her garb, possesses a magnificent aura of power in and around it.
The aura is supposed to be magnetic in nature, and the aura of power is considered to be due to the presence of two very strong magnets which were used for the tower’s construction. Some legends suggest that the king’s throne hovered in mid-air due to these magnets during king’s court sessions.
Other legends state that the magnetic effects pulled the vessels that passed through Konark Sea and caused huge damages. Also, the magnetic compass used to get disturbed by the powerful magnetic effects. The Portuguese sailors, to protect their vessels, carved out the iron columns and lodestones of the temple’s walls.
Because of this, the temple walls were destroyed as they lost their balance and fell down. Though, so far, there are no evidences to support these legends, they are very popular among the masses that visit the temple.
A major portion of the Konark temple was destroyed due to the continuous violent attacks by Kalaphad’s on Odisha. The general worked under the Sultan of Bengal named Sulaiman Khan Karrani.
The architecture of the temple makes one to admire the Orissan style of art. The special feature of this temple is that the shrine wholly erected in the form of a huge chariot. This chariot is placed on twelve pairs of splendidly carved wheels and drawn by seven dynamic horses. According to one saying, these 12 pair of wheels symbolizes 24 hours in a day, while the other say, these wheels represent 12 months of the year. Seven days of the week are said to be the representation of seven horses. The wheels of this chariot have an interesting fact behind their formation. Each wheel has a set of eight spokes and these spokes serve as sundials. The shadows made by these sundials give exact time of the day.
On the entrance, one can see two huge lions that appear to be guarding the temple. To reach the main shrine, a flight of steps is required to be taken. On climbing the stairs, two life-size statues of horses are visible on both sides. Inside the temple, walls imprinted with intricate carvings, sculptures and bas-reliefs (figures projecting from a plain background) can enthrall the aesthetic sense of any beholder. The main sanctum represents the regal stride of the Lord Surya. The actual idol of Sun God was removed from here and had been positioned in the Jagannath Temple.
The temple also comprises a ‘Nat Mandapa’ or Dancing Hall that is profound in its carvings. The images are carved in an erotic style and posture. These carvings depict figures of divine, semi-divine, human and animal figures along with floral and geometric adornment. The beautiful damsels and danseuse are noteworthy for their sensuous appeal. These sculptures appear full of emotions and gestures, which certainly generate a feeling in the heart of the onlooker.
- The main temple structure and the geometrical patterns all around the temple
- The carved wheels and the spokes of the wheel which serve as sun dials
- Architectural figures including the war horses, the elephants and the guarding lions at the entrance
- The Nata Mandir (Dancing Hall)
- Three images of Sun God at three direction of the temple to catch the rays of the Sun at dawn, noon and sunset
- The various images of dieties, dancers, musicians, elephants and mythical creatures
- The second level of the temple structure which showcases the famous erotic sculptures
- The Sun temple museum run by Archaelogical Survey of India
- The Nava Graha (Nine Planets) Temple
- The Konark is the third link of Odisha’s Golden Triangle. The first link is Jagannath Puri and the second link is Bhubaneswar (Capital city of Odisha)
- The Konark temple is constructed as a gigantic chariot with 24 wheels about three meters high and pulled by 7 horses, housing the Sun God within
- The entrance is guarded by two huge lions, each killing a war elephant and beneath the elephant is a man. The lions represent pride, elephants represent wealth and both of them consumes man
- Konark temple was initially built on the sea bank but now the sea has receded and the temple is a little away from the beach. This temple was also known as ‘BLACK PAGODA’ due to its dark color and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Odisha
- Everyday, the Sun’s rays would reach the Nata Mandir from the coast and reflects from the diamond placed at the center of the idol
- A heavy magnet was placed at the temple top and every two stones of the temple is sandwiched by iron plates.
- The idol was said to have been floating in air due to the arrangement of magnets. The magnet at the top is said to have disturbed compasses for coastal voyagers and later on removed
Timings – Open from sunrise to sunset
Entrance Fee –
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 30 per head.
Others: Rs. 500/- per head (children up to 15 years free)
The serenity of the sea breeze and the pleasure of leisurely walking beside the calm or noisy sea is truly a memorable experience and it is realized in its full form as you visit the Konark Beach. Just 3 Km away from the Konark Sun Temple, Konark Beach in Odisha (Orissa) is a nirvana for a beach lover since a beach visitor can simultaneously bathe in the warmth of the sun and witness the beauty of sunrise or sunset. Another beautiful sight is that of the spotting fishermen, grossly involved in their daily chores with the fish.
If you wish to travel through train, then Bhubaneswar and Puri are the places where trains are available to take you to (Konarak) Konark Beach. However, roadways are the ideal means of transport if you wish to roam around the city. There are numerous vehicles ready to take you to any corner of the city. Among other sea beaches in Odisha (Orissa), Konark Sea Beach is the finest and its charm is ameliorated by the wonders of the Konark Sun Temple. Also, visitors have another option of visiting Shri Jagannath Puri, which is at 33 Km distance from Konark Beach in Odisha (Orissa).
Some important accommodation spots at Konark (Konarak) are Yatri nivas, Panthanivas, Konark hotels etc. So, there is no need to wait to enjoy the brilliance of the beaches of Odisha (Orissa).
Best time to visit
Due to the unbearable heat during the summers in Konark, the best time to visit Sun Temple in Konark is during comparatively cooler months of October to March.
How to Reach
Reaching Konark is not difficult as this town is well connected to all the major parts of India by road, rail as well as air. Bhubaneswar airport is the nearest airport that is well linked and has regular flights from all parts of the country. This airport is at a distance of 64 km from Konark.
The railway stations closest to Konark are there in the twin cities of Puri and Bhubaneswar.
An extensive road network connects Konark with the rest of the India via National as well as State Highways.