Location:- Konark, Orissa
Konark Sun Temple is located, in the state of Orissa near the
sacred city of Puri. The sun Temple of Konark is dedicated to
the sun God or Surya. It is a masterpiece of Orissa's medieval
architecture. UNESCO has declared Sun temple a world heritage
site. The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural
grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural
work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the
sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with
a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the
temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A
flight of steps leads to the main entrance.
The Nata Mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately
carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and
roof, are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of
animals, foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting
patterns. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned
to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
Architecture of the Temple
The massive structure of the temple, now in ruins, sits in
solitary splendour surrounded by the drifting sands. The entire
temple has been designed in the shape of a chariot carrying
the Sun God across the heavens. The huge intricate wheels of
the chariot, which are carved around the base of the temple,
are the major attractions of the temple. The spokes of these
wheels serve as sundials, and the shadows formed by these can
give the precise time of the day. The pyramidal roof of the
temple, made of sandstone, soars over 30 m in height. Like the
temples at Khajuraho, the Sun Temple at Konark is also covered
with erotic sculptures.
The Temple Chariot of the Sun God
Standing imperiously in its compound of lawns and casuarina
trees, 35km north of Puri on the coast road, this majestic pile
of oxidizing sandstone is considered to be the apogee of Orissan
architecture and one of the finest religious buildings anywhere
in the world. The temple is all the more remarkable for having
languished under a huge mound of sand since it fell into neglect
three hundred or so years ago. A team of seven galloping horses
and twenty-four exquisitely carved wheels found lining the flanks
of a raised platform showed that the temple had been conceived
in the form of a colossal chariot for the sun god Surya, its
Lady drummer of Sun Temple
The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with thousands
of images including deities, the Surasundaris, heavenly damsels,
and human musicians, lovers, dancers, and different scenes from
Sun Temple - Equally as sensational was the
re-discovery among the ruins of some extraordinary erotic sculpture.
Konark is plastered with loving couples locked in ingenious
amatory postures drawn from the Kama Sutra - a feature that
may well explain the comment made by one of great poet of Mughal
Dynasty,Abdul Fazl, in the sixteenth century: "Even those
who are difficult to please," he enthused, "stand
astonished at its sight."
A stone's throw away from Konark beach lies the sacred pond
where Samba was cured of leprosy - the miracle that allegedly
inspired the founding of the sun temple. For a couple of days
every year during the full or "white" moon phase of
Magha (Jan/Feb), chandrabhaga is also the site of a big religious
festival, the Magha Saptami Mela.
Konark derives its name from Konarka, the presiding deity of
the Sun Temple. Konarka is actually a combination of two words,
Kona (corner) and Arka (sun), which, when combined, means the
sun of the corner. Konark was one of the earliest centres of
Sun worshipping in India. The place finds mention in the Puranas
as Mundira or Mundirasvamin, a name that was subsequently replaced
by Konaditya or Konarka. Apart from the Puranas, other religious
texts also point towards the existence of a sun temple at Konark
long before the present temple.
Konark was once a bustling port of Kalinga and had good maritime
trade relations with Southeast Asian countries. The present
Sun Temple was probably built King Narashimhadev I (AD 1238-64)
of the Ganga dynasty to celebrate his victory over the Muslims.
The temple fell into disuse in the early 17th century after
an envoy of the Mughal emperor Jahangir desecrated it. However,
legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the
son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by
leprosy, brought about by his father's curse on him. After 12
years of penance, Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built
this temple, cured him.
Also Known As Black Pagoda & Konarak
Built By : King Narsingha Deva
Presiding Deity : Surya Or The Sun God
The temple city of Konark is situated in the eastern state of
Orissa at a distance of around 65 km from Bhubaneswar and 35
km from Puri. The city extends between longitude 86.08?E and
How to Get There
Air :There is no direct connection from Konark
by air. Nearest air heads are Bhubaneswar and Puri. Indian Airlines,
Jet Air, and Sahara connect Bhubaneswar to Delhi, Calcutta,
Madras, Hyderabad, and Nagpur.
Rail :The nearest railheads are Puri and Bhubaneswar.
These two stations are connected to all the major cities in
India through long-distance trains.
Road :Orissa State Road Transport Corporation
and private buses provide links with all parts of the state.
Deluxe coach services from Calcutta, Bijapur, and Vishakhapatnam
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 of December
Konark Dance Festival
A dance festival is held in an open-air theatre built near
the Sun Temple every year in the month of December. Known as
the Konark dance festival, the event brings together eminent
classical dancers of India who perform various dance forms like
Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chhow. The classical
extravaganza is a journey through ecstasy, and a visit to Konark
during this time offers you with a combination of art, craft,
fun and frolic.
Magha Saptami (Sun Festival)
Magha Saptami (Sun Festival) is held at Konark on the seventh
day (saptami) of the bright half of the month of Magha (January/February).
During this festival, the pilgrims bathe in the sea before sunrise
and then proceed to the temple to worship.