Konark Sun Temple
Konark, Orissa, India
is a derivative of the appellation for the Sun God or the Konarka. Needless
to say, the Sun Temple with its magnanimous twelve-pair wheeled chariot
drawn by 7 brawny horses is the pride of this small, yet much visited
coastal tourist hub. A beatific reflection of Orissa's medieval
architecture, the Sun Temple has been designated a United Nations (UNESCO)
World Heritage Site.
Where the Sun God Reigns
The 13th Century Sun Temple or the Black Pagoda was built in black granite
by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty. It was used as
a navigational aid by the European sailors crossing the Bay of Bengal. They
named it Black Pagoda to distinguish it from the 'white' Jaggannath Temple
at Puri, another famous coastal temple. The temple is now partly in ruins,
and a collection of its sculptures is treasured in the Sun Temple Museum,
which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The massive temple stands so unmistakably high and aloof that nothing could
have been a better place to worship the Sun - the singular matrix of power
that survives the Universe. The temple resembles the massive chariot pulled
by 7 spirited stallions that ferried the Sun God across the heavens. There
are 24 gigantic wheels, intricately carved and with spokes that look like
sundials. So scientifically are these placed that one can actually gauge the
time of the day from the shadow they cast on the earth. The pyramidal roof
of the temple, made of sandstone, soars over 30 m in height. Erotic
sculptures inspired from Kama Sutra, like those of Khajuraho, abound the
walls of the temple. At the entrance of the temple is the Nata Mandir where
the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun-god.
The poet Rabindranath Tagore once wrote of Konark: "Here the language
of stone surpasses the language of man". The Sun temple is truly a
perfect insignia of a powerful God and visitors really do feel the strength
of the whole faith in the Sun God in the temple premises. With the Top
Travel & Tours' guides, your visit can be made all the more exciting and
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Mayadevi Temple -
To the south-west of the temple, are the remains of
the Mayadevi Temple, thought to be dedicated to one of the Surya's wives.
However, the temple is now believed to be an older Surya Temple.
» Konark Beach -
Three kilometres away from the Sun
Temple is the sprawling beach. You can either walk down or hire a bicycle or
cycle-rickshaw to reach the beach. A stroll or a sun-bath - near the Sun
Temple - can be an inexplicable experience.
» Archaeological Museum -
Just a few yards away
from the Sun Temple is the Archaeological Museum that contains many
sculptures and carvings found during the temple excavations. The museum is
open throughout the week except Friday.
Nearest airport at Bhubaneshwar is 64 km away and is connected to Kolkata,
Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur. At 31 km is the nearest railhead at
Puri. The National and State Highways connect Konark with Puri, Bhubaneshwar
and other major places in Orissa.You can also hire taxis and private buses
to get to Konark from Puri.