The Sun Temple at Konark, Orissa

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Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

Konark home to the Sun Temple, amazing one third of Orissa Golden Triangle.

Temples, architectural and cultural tours are some of rich enticing travel attractions Konark has to offer.

History of Konark

Konark Sun Temple, Odisha
The history of Konark in the eastern region of India is entwined with the legendary Sun Temple. The name itself has meaning related to the Sun-Konark a combination ‘Kona’ which means corner and ‘Arka’ stands for the sun, the leading to the meaning corner of sun. The befitting name is testament to the district’s firm establishment as a centre for worshipping the sun.

The earliest reference to Konark can be found in the epic Purana where it was called Mundira and a sun temple had already existed civilizations ago. With its coastal location near Bay of Bengal, it was also a busy port that enjoyed good relations with the Southeast Asian regions. The most notable period in Konark history is in the 13th century when the King Narasimhadeva I of the Ganga dynasty completed the construction of the monumental Sun temple to commemorate their victory over the Muslims.

Tourism in Konark

The Temples
Konark, in the eastern region of India, is synonymous with the grand Sun Temple, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its ancient state, the majestic temple still stands tall in full splendor as one can only be filled with awe at the architectural masterpiece. The red sandstone roof rises to a towering height of 30m. The temple is built to resemble the divine chariot used as by Surya, the Sun God, hence the name. This chariot temple was to have been pulled by 7 horses, to represent the days in the week. Only a single horse structure remains standing. The base of the chariot is supported by 24 stone wheels, to represent the hours in a day. The intricate carvings on these wheels are another sight to marvel. There are 8 spokes on each wheel, which have proven to be accurate sundials as they are able to indicate the time of the day perfectly. All around the temple, there are erotic sculptures and other figures of deities, noblemen and animals depicting various scenes.

Other remarkable temples worth the travel include the Melakadambur Shiva Temple, built in 11th century, the one of Konark’s oldest chariot temples and closely resembles the Sun temple. Mayadevi Temple, also referred as Ramachandi temple, is believed to be built in dedication to one of the wives of the Sun God. The walls of this ancient temple are carved with erotic figurines of dancing nymphs, motifs of flowers, scenes of the court and hunting sessions.

The Museum and Beach
The Archaeological Museum of Konark is a must visit, following the tour to the Sun Temple. Founded in 1968 and with four marvelous galleries, this museum is home to varying stone sculptures, artifacts and intricate carvings numbering over 200. The archaeological finds of the detached sculptures from the Sun temple are displayed in the first gallery. The amazing embellishments on the sculptures of the Hindu deities, the meticulous display of various scenes, cult objects and interesting artifacts such as roaring lions and garlanded swans are nothing short of impressive craftsmanship. The museum is a fertile learning ground about Orissa’s architectural evolution and development.

Konark beach, which is also called Chandrabhaga, is a very popular travel spot. The tranquil settings among the strong waves and clear sand will naturally evoke a sense of peace to any traveler.

Konark Dance Festival
The magical Konark Dance Festival is celebrated annually over five days during first week of December. The festival is an enthralling cultural visual treat with international following. The classical bonanza takes place at an open dance hall, called Natya Mandir set up near the Konark beach. It showcases the very best of performing arts, from any region of India, in classical music and traditional dance forms which include Bharatanatyam, Chau, Kathak, Manipuri and Odissi.

Facts:

  • Area (square kilometers):08 sq km
  • Population: 15,020
  • Elevation: Sea Level
  • Geographical Location (coordinates): 19°53’North and 86°06’East
  • Climate: Tropical
  • Primary Rainy Season: July to September.
  • Summer Temperature: 42 Deg C to 27 Deg C
  • Winter Temperature: 25 Deg C to 8 Deg C
  • Languages: Hindi, Bengali, English
  • Best Season: October to March,
  • Places to Visit: Sun Temple, Mayadevi Temple, Archaeological Museum, Konark Beach, Konark Dance Festival

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