|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. Sun temple has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
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 lead 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.
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 latitude 19.53°N.
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 it was desecrated by an envoy of the Mughal emperor
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, he was cured by
Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.
of the Temple
The massive structure of the temple, now in ruins, sits in solitary
splendor 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 presiding deity.
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 courtly life.
Maituna - 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.
- Magha Saptami
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) 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.
How to Get
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
The nearest railheads are Puri and Bhubaneswar. These two stations
are connected to all the major cities in India through long-distance
Orissa State Road Transport Corporation and private buses provide
links with all parts of the state. Deluxe coach services from
Calcutta, Bijapur, and Vishakhapatnam are available.