Off the eastern coast of Indian subcontinent and along the Bay of Bengal lies the ancient town of Konark. World famous for the Sun Temple, the city of Konark lies at a distance of 65kms from capital city of the state of Odisha i.e Bhubaneshwar and 35kms from the holy city of Puri. The present day name of the Konark city has its origin from Kona-Arka which is a combination of two most common Odiya words ‘Kona’ and ‘Arka’. ‘Kona’ which means ‘Corner’ and the word ‘Arka’ means the ‘Sun’. These two words when so combined bring out the meaning – ‘Sun of the All Corners’ or Konark.
The view of the Jagamohan from Natya Griha
The Sun temple is a monumental example of the personification of divinity dedicated to the Sun God. It is documented that the temple’s construction began in the year of 12th century AD by the great king Langula Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple was envisioned in the shape of a gigantic chariot with 24 decorated wheels and led by a team of 7 enormously carved horses. It’s construction in the Nagara style of architecture took 12 years to complete by 1200 artisans. And it is said that in it’s peak time, the temple when viewed from inland during the dawn and sunrise hours, appeared to be emerging from the depths of the blue oceanic sea carrying the Sun. What a Majestic view that might be !!!
There is a popular saying that every good thing eventually comes an end. So by the mid of 15th century with the constantly decreasing military strength of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty and the constant war with the had taken the toll. All its glory changed when in the year of 1568 AD when the Muslim convert named Kalapahad attacked the temple and desecrated this architectural marvel. Eventually this once thriving place of worship gradually turned dilapidated, ignored and left into oblivion.
The Famous Lion statue on top of a elephant which in turn is on top of a Human. This whole figurine is carved of single stone. It depicts two greed of a man .The lions resemble the pride of the men and the elephants resembles his wealth .Both may become a reason for fall/death of a Man if he do not control his greed.
The official seal of Government of Odisha : The Horse of Konark
The Sun dial, one of the 24 wheel of Konark Temple
Scaled Sculpture of Sun God
With ages of neglect the part of the main temple which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off and whatever remains today that we can see, are the entrance of the main temple called the Jagamohana (porch) and the Natya Griha (dance hall) in front of it.
Erotic sculptures found in the Sun Temple of Konark
The Konark temple is widely known, not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the abundance of intricate sculptural works. There are three black granite images of the Sun God, positioned on three side of the temple to catch the Sun rays at dawn, noon and sunset. And around the base of the temple, and also up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style which likewise seen in the Khajuraho temple complexes. There are also many multifarious images of many animals, foliage, warrior men, warriors on horses and other interesting images of giraffes, snakes, elephants, etc. which are equally noteworthy.
Sunset view of Konark Sun Temple
Even in its ruined state it is a magnificent temple which reflects the mastermind of the great architects whose cognitive mind could only be visioned by the awe inspiring life size sculptures.
How to Reach Konark Temple
The Sun Temple of Konark is easy to reach destination from the Capital city of Bhubaneshwar. Odisha’s intercity roadways are best on the golden quadrilateral town of Bhubaneshwar-Puri-Konark. To reach one can easily hire a Cab to Konark .Else you can easily reach Puri Railway station or Puri Bus stand and then hop on to goverment buses going towards Konark. It takes around 2 hours to reach Puri from Bhubaneshwar and another hour to reach Konark from the Holy city of Puri.
Once you reach the local bus stand of Konark you can walk the rest of distance of less than a kilometers to reach the Sun temple. Or otherwise a 6 seater auto rickshaw will be a good option to reach . Below reference distance could be help you with your plans.
Where to Stay in Konark
Being a nodal tourist place, Konark offers great option for stay as per individual budget and luxury requirement.
My personal choice is Surya Inn, which is at a throw away distance from the Sun Temple that provides a great choice for accommodation when visiting Budget Hotel In Konark.
Odisha Tourism development board provides a vast options of luxury hotel accommodation in the form of Yatriniwas. It’s ambiance is superb and the taste of the food in the morning buffet will blow your mind. But you need to confirm your booking before visiting the place .
Book hotels in Konark on Booking.com
Book hotels in Konark on OTDC website
Best Places to Visit Near Konark
–Konark Museum- It is at a distance of 1.5 kms from Sun Temple that houses the fallen structure from the temple. Worthful to visit if you want to see the old pictures of Sun temple and the various fallen images.
–Chandrabhaga Beach– The Chandrabhaga beach is at a distance of 4kms from the Sun temple. Nice and quiet a peaceful beach to stroll around in the evening and in the morning hours. Word of caution Konark Beach is a dangerous beach to bath as it is warned that the sea current has many internal currents that may pose a risk while taking a sea bath. You can also visit the Konark Lighthouse which can be seen to the right of the Chandrabhaga sea road.
–Kuruma– Kuruma is a small village at a distance of a mere 7 km from Konark Bus Station. It is a major archaeological excavation sites in the state and is famous due to its mention in several Buddhist texts from the era of Asoka .It also appears in the writings of the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang that makes it a worthful place to visit if you have some spare time to visit in and around Konark.
*Featured Pic PC Wheel of Konark Sun Temple :Yaanus Films India