crowning glory of Oriya temple architecture, the 13th century
Sun temple also known as ' the Black Pagoda', comes with a
baggage of centuries - old myths and legends. Legends say
that Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy,
brought about by his father's curse on him. After 12 years
of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour
he built this temple.Built by Raja Narsimhadeva of the Ganga
dynasty, in the 13th century AD, the temple is a pageant of
human grandeur, in its perception, and in the execution of
even the finest details. It resembles a colossal chariot,
with 24 wheels, pulled by seven straining horses, and has
a three-tiered pyramidal roof topped off by a fine spire.
The Sun - God's chariot, also represents the seven days of
the week, and the 24 hours of the day, in its concept. The
temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with impressive
sculptures. Every aspect of life is represented here, and
the erotic imagery, depicts the sublimation of human love
manifested in countless forms. Scenes from court, civic life
and war are also done with great precision.
Unlike the other temples of the Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri region,
the Konark temple had two smaller outer halls, completely
separate from the main structure. The assembly-hall and the
tower were built on an imposing platform, which were carved
into meticulously crafted twelve pairs of decorated wheels,
each 10 feet in diameter. The entrance is reached by a broad
flight of steps, flanked on either side by prancing horses,
the whole representing the chariot, in which the Sun-God rides
across the heavens. The court of the temple, was decorated
with large free-standing sculptures of great strength and
beauty. Now protected under the World Heritage List, the temple's
interior was filled - up in 1903 A.D., by the then British
Lt. Governor of Bengal, to save it from deterioration.
What to See
The Museum Of Archaeological Survey
Of India: The museum which is just outside the temple
enclosure, houses sculptures and carvings from the ruins of
the Sun Temple. The stone architrave inside it, bearing images
of nine planet dieties, the Navagrahas, originally sat above
one of the temple's ornamental doorways, and is now kept as
a living shrine.
Konark Beach: The beach, 3 kms
away from the temple along the Puri road, is very picturesque
and you can get the glimpses of the local fishing fleet at
work. The sunrise at this beach is a feast for the eyes. Also
an ideal site for a spot of sun-bathing.
Balighai Beach: a secluded silver
stretch, girdled by casuarina forests.
Kuruma: Approachable by jeeps,
Kuruma, a site of Buddhist archaeological discoveries, is
only 8 kms from Konark. Recent excavations have thrust this
little village into the limelight with the discovery of antique
images of the Buddha seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra alongwith
the image of Heruka.
Chaurasi: Chaurasi is the site
of the shrines dedicated to Laxminarayanan, Amareshras and
Barahi. Barahi is a deity dating back to the 9th century AD,
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.
Pipli: 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
colourful and original awnings, canopies, garden and beach
umbrellas, shoulder and hand bags etc. The cocktail effect
of the colours is certainly a feast for the eyes.
Ramachandi: A beautiful spot,
7 kms from Konark, Ramachandi is located at the confluence
of the river Kusabhadra and the Bay of Bengal. The deity of
Konark, Goddess Ramachandi, is worshipped here.
Kakatapur: 45 kms from Konark,
Kakatapur is located in the Prachi valley and is famous 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.
Astranga: 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.
The Chandrabhaga Mela or Magha Saptami mela in the month of
February, is a grand religious festival. Thousands of pilgrims
converge on the pool, on this day to take a holy dip in its
curative waters, and then shuffle off to the beach where,
in accordance with an age-old custom mentioned in the puranas,
they watch the sun rise over the sea. The event is followed
by the puja of the Navagraha. Those interested in attending
the Konark Dance Festival, held in the Open air Auditorium
north of the Sun Temple, should visit during the first week
How to get there
Konark is connected by road to Bhubaneswar (65km) and Puri
(35 km). The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar and the nearest
railhead is Puri