Konark Sun Temple
Above all The Konark Sun Temple is another one of the 7 wonders of India and is located in Konark, Orissa. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has also featured on various lists of Seven Wonders of India. In addition to this the temple is located 35 km from Puri and 65 km from Bhubaneswar connected by all-weather national highways. Public bus connectivity from Bhubaneswar and Puri.
History Legends and Myths of Konark Temple
Konark (Kona means corner or angle + Arka means the Sun) is a place, most importantly the ‘sun appears to be rising at an angle’. Puranic literature teaches us Konark is an important place of sun worship: mentioned in Samba Purana, the ‘first Sun Temple’ was built in Konark in the 19th Century BCE. This is said to be the origin of the sun worship tradition in Konark. Madala Panji tells us further the next Sun Temple built in the 9th Century CE by the Keshari Dynasty.
The existing Sun temple built by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE. Abdul Fazal (1556-1605 CE) in Ain-E-Akbari says that, there were six other temples inside the compound of the Sun Temple, and 22 other temples in its vicinity. The grand temple we see today is only a part of the original temple complex, which fell to ruin for reasons unknown.
Architecture of Konark Sun Temple
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya. What remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses. All carved from khondalite stone. Before over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary; most importantly this rose much higher than the mandapa that remains. The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic (kama) and copulation (mithuna) statues.
Moreover the Sun Temple is a wonderful culmination of all the defining elements of Kalinga architecture and includes a jagmohana (audience hall), shikhara (crown), vimana (tower) and natmandir (dance hall). Legend has it that the temple’s plans were very accurate that the first rays of the rising sun fell on the image of Surya enshrined within the garbha griha or sanctum sanctorum of the main temple
Interesting Facts about Konark Sun Temple
Not only this temple known as “Black Pagoda” but also In ancient days the temple was helping sailors for navigation. It is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus and who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela ( a fair) on the month of February. Finally Konark Sun Temple wheel depicts on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of Rs. 10 to signify its importance to Indian cultural heritage.
How to Reach Konark
Air to Konark:
Firstly Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport – 65 kms. Indian Airlines has flights from Delhi, Kolkota, Visakhapatnam, Raipur, Hyderabad and Chennai and Mumbai
Rail to Konark:
Secondly The nearest railheads are Bhubaneswar and Puri. 65 km from Bhubaneswar via pipili and 35 km from Puri on marine drive road
Road to Konark:
Thirdly Konark connects good all-weather motorable roads. Regular Bus services are operating from Puri and Bhubaneswar.
Taxi to Konark:
Finally Taxis are available from Puri and Bhubaneswar. For internal transport, Auto rickshaws and Cycle rickshaws are available near Konark temple. Surya Inn arranges Taxi on Guest request.