Konark Sun Temple- A Combination of Art and Innovation
The Konark Sun temple is located in the state of Orissa; Konark district India, located 30 km north of Puri and 64 km from Bhubaneshwar near to the coastline. This temple is also known as the black pagoda, a temple which is famous all over the world for its splendor in terms of design and elegance with which it had been constructed way back in the 13th century AD. This temple is entirely made up of oxidized form of sandstone; Konark Sun temple is a treasure of Indian architecture in the medieval times. The design of the temple is in the form of a chariot drawn by a number of horses and the entire design has been carved out on stones. The designs are stone based and the architects have used complete stone engravings as designs to give form and shape to the temple.
The main design is based on six horses drawing forward a huge chariot on twenty four wheels which have been decorated exquisitely. The entrance is remarkable with two lions guarding the entrance, depicting the strength of the lion through the position which it enjoys at the temple. The temple had been constructed with a lot of grace and elegance which reflects through the intricate detailing and the designs which have been depicted through the temple art work. Another startling art work of this temple is the erotic images depicting various thoughts. The erotic art works are found at the higher levels of the porch.
The art work depicts reality and can be personified with real life emotions, thoughts and actions. They have been depicted using human shapes, animals and the delicate work of art. The temple is around 229 feet high and the entire temple compound has the dimensions of 261 meters by 160 meters. Today the main tower of this temple is visible. It is estimated that this temple had been built in the period between 153 and 1260 AD. This temple had been constructed under the reign of Narasimha Dev.
There is a legend about Konark temple which says that there used to be a loadstone on top of the temple. This loadstone had the capacity to attract iron and metallic bodies towards itself resulting in damages. Compasses were also getting disturbed due to the magnetic effects of the loadstone. The Muslim voyagers took notice of the problem and it is said that they removed the loadstone and as a result the structure collapsed. The loadstone was acting as the main stone balancing the other stones of the Konark Sun temple. It is estimated by historians that this temple took a total of twelve years to be built and about twelve hundred workers were involved in this process. The completion procedure was helped by the son of the king who had ordered the construction of the temple. The king’s son had a thorough knowledge in temple architecture and his ideas solved many of the pending problems related to designs.
Other attraction Nearby Konark
Located to the southwest of Sun Temple, Mayadevi is an important attraction of Konark. It is not entirely clear as to whom the temple is dedicated. Some people believe that the temple is dedicated to one of Sun God’s wives, while there are some who say that the temple belongs to Sun God himself. The walls of the temple have erotic sculptures carved on them. Also look at the precise carvings of dancing nymphs, court scenes, floral motifs and hunting scenes that adorn the walls of the temple. Two lion structures stand at the entrance and on either side of the temple you will see two gigantic elephant images. The structure of war-horse also increases the attraction of the temple remains.
The museum in Konark belongs to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The present museum was started in the year 1968. You will find the sculptures and parts of Sun Temple that came apart from the main temple building. The museum has four galleries that showcase 260 antiquities that were found in and around Sun Temple. The galleries display sculptures like various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, image of Surya God in sandstone and many celestial nymphs. The other attraction of the museum are a huge structure of head of a crocodile, reconstructed temple wall and the Khandolite built reconstructed wheel. You will get to see images of numerous monumental sites of Orissa which are displayed in the corridors. You can visit the museum on all days except Fridays. The timing for the visit are 10 AM to 5 PM.
The Beach in Konark is among the best on the eastern coast. With clear sands and shimmering blue ocean, Konark Beach which is named as chandrabhanga, is an absolute visual treat. The waterfront is an apt place to relax and unwind. The famous Konark Sun Temple is just few paces away from the beach and you take a walk and visit the temple. Though the scope for water sports is not much on the beach, but an evening walk on the beach is really soothing. Or you can just lie down on the golden sands and enjoy a sunbath while watching the local fishermen do their daily chores.
Chaurasi is a famous site of the shrines devoted to Laxminarayanan, Amareshras and Barahi. Dating back to the 9th century AD, Barahi is the diety and worshipped according to tantrik practices. She is a mother goddess with the face of a boar and is depicted holding a fish in one hand and a cup in another.
The village Kurum is located at a distance of 8 km from Konark. Specimens and exhibits of 7th & 8th century have been found in this unknown village. In this century Hinduism & Buddhism were merged with each other. However, in Hieun Tsang’s writings (634 AD) Kurum has been referred to as a wealthy, prosperous and well-populated village. Among the numerous specimens there are a sort of script on stone, ancient coins, Buddhist caves etc which were recovered from the underground of UGME School. Enthusiasts can take an auto or a car from Konark and may visit the thatched room of the teacher Sri Braja Das adjoining the school, where these specimens are kept under his supervision.
On the way to Konark is Pipli, famous for its exquisite applique work, which depict the essence of Oriya culture. It is also the home of the most colorful and original awnings, canopies, garden and beach umbrellas, shoulder and hand bags etc. The cocktail effect of the colures is certainly a feast for the eyes.
Ramachandi, a enchanting tourist spot, 7 kms from Konark, is situated at the confluence of the river Kusabhadra and the Bay of Bengal. The deity of Konark, Goddess Ramachandi, is worshipped here.
45 kms from Konark, Kakatapur is situated in the Prachi valley and is popular for its shrines of Goddess Mangala and Banadurga. legend has it that the directions for reaching the holy log from which is created Lord Jagannath’s icon comes from her. The famous ‘Jhamu Yatra’ is held in April-May when devotees walk over a narrow trench strewn with embers.
A famous fishing harbour, Astranga lies 55 kms from Konark. Washed by the waters of the Bay of Bengal, with its magnificent sunsets, the place really lives upto its name.
Where to Stay
Konark is one of the most visited towns in Orissa but still there are not many places to stay. It is probably because of its closeness to Puri which is a major city of the state. Though limited, there are good hotels to stay in. Main hotels in Konark are Panthanivas Tourist Bungalow, Sunrise Lodge, Yatri Niwas and Konark Lodge.
How To Reach Konark
Bjju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport which is at distance of 65 Km. Flights from all major cities of India are regular to and from Bhubaneswar. From airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus for a one hour ride.
Nearest railhead is at Puri which is at a distance of approximately 35 Km. Puri is connected to all parts of India with regular trains. Hiring a taxi is the best way of commuting between Puri and Konark.
Puri and Capital city of Bhubaneswar are both at close proximity from Konark. There are good number of transport buses as well as private coaches plying from both the cities.
Auto rickshaws, taxis and cycle rickshaws are there for roaming around in the city. Bus service is also good in Konark.