The 13th-century Konark Sun Temple is located at Konark, Odisha, India, some 35 kilometers northeast of Puri on the beach. Around 1250 CE, the temple is credited to monarch Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
Built-in the 13th century CE Between 1238 and 1250 CE, King Narasimhadeva 1 of the Eastern Ganga dynasty constructed the temple. The king commissioned the temple’s construction, which was overseen by Samantaraya Mahapatra.
The term ‘Konark’ refers to the sun and the four cardinal directions. The structure was dubbed Black Pagoda by Europeans who utilized it as a navigational aid for their ships due to its gloomy exterior. It is reported that the temple’s magnetic properties might attract ships to the coast.
The temple is well-known for its magnificent Kalinga architecture, which features a 100-foot-tall chariot drawn by horses and wheels fashioned out of a single stone. The monument depicts the sun god’s magnificent chariot. Built of Khondalite rocks, the original temple had a 230-foot-tall sanctuary that no longer exists, as well as a 128-foot-tall audience hall, dancing hall, and dining hall that remain.
There are 24 finely crafted wheels with a diameter of 12 feet that are pulled by horses. The seven horses symbolize the week, the wheels represent the twelve months, and the eight spokes on the wheels indicate the day cycle. And this whole representation demonstrates how the sun controls time – as the Surya in Hindu mythology travels from the east in his chariot, guided by his charioteer, Aruna.
The entryway leads to the chlorite stone temple dedicated to Surya. Reliefs cover the temple’s walls, which depict a variety of characters, including Hindu gods, scenes of common human life, birds, and animals. Additionally, the temple’s shikhara has sensual sculptures from the tantra tradition. The temple’s wheels may be used as sundials and are very accurate in predicting the time.
It is shaped like a large rath or chariot of the Sun God and is drawn by a team of seven horses, four on the left and three on the right. Three deities devoted to the Sun God are located on three distinct sides of the temple, capturing the sun’s direct beams in the morning, afternoon, and nighttime.
Additionally, the temple complex has a separate archaeological museum. The temple is transformed into a stage during the annual Konark Dance Festival, which takes place in February and draws a large number of international and Indian visitors — devoted to Sun God believers.
The Konark Sun Temple is one of the country’s remaining surviving buildings from before the fourteenth century. From the seashore, the sun’s rays reach the Nata Mandir and reflect off the diamond in the idol’s center. The statue is thought to float in mid-air owing to the magnets arranged at the temple’s top, although they were eventually removed because of the disruption caused to coastal cruises.
The Sun Temple, an engineering and aesthetic marvel, has stood stoically for the previous two thousand years. Despite the fact that most of the temple is in ruins, it nonetheless exhibits the aesthetic skill of the time’s builders and sculptors.
The Sun Temple, constructed in the traditional Kalinga style, is shaped like a colossal chariot of the Sun God, complete with twelve pairs of sumptuously carved stone wheels and drawn by a team of seven horses. The temple is wonderfully angled to the east, allowing the first rays of sunlight to shine directly on the great entrance.
Two enormous lions guard the entryway on each side, each crushing a man and an elephant underneath. On the outside walls of the temple, erotica, monsters, creatures, soldiers, and animals are carved. The sculptures are very similar to those in Madhya Pradesh’s Khajuraho Temple.
The main sanctuary (Vimana), which stood seventy meters tall, collapsed in 1837 owing to unstable soil and the structure’s immense weight. The last remaining building is a 30-meter-high audience hall.
The best way to go to Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is located in Konark, an Odisha town in the Puri district. It is around 60 kilometers from Bhubaneswar’s city and 35 kilometers from Puri. Due to the Sun Temple’s popularity as a tourist attraction, Konark is well-connected to Puri and Bhubaneswar through trains, buses, and taxis. However, the simplest method to reach Konark is to book a taxi from Puri.
Nearest Airport: The Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar is 62 kilometers (1 hour 39 minutes) distant from Konark Sun Temple. To reach the temple, you may either book a prepaid cab at the airport counter or take a bus from outside the airport.
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