: Konark, Orissa
Deity Worshipped : Surya or Sun God
Built By : Believed to have been built by Narashimhadev I in mid-13th century.
Festivals Celebrated : A dance festival is held in Konark temple premises in the month of December participated by noted dancers from all over India.
The Sun temple of Konark has been so magnificently built that it is regarded as one of the best examples of temple architecture anywhere in the world. Dedicated to the Sun God or Surya, this temple has now been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
According to mythological tales, the Sun temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. Samba suffered from leprosy for a long time due to a curse given by his father. After long 12 years of penance, he was cured at this place by Surya or Sun God. Samba built the Sun temple in his favour. But depending on scientific historical evidences, it is believed that Narashimhadev I had constructed the temple in mid-13th century.
Also called the Black Pagoda, the Sun temple of Konark has been designed in the form of a chariot of the Sun God, taking him to the heavens. The chariot has 24 huge wheels and is driven by seven horses. It is mentionable that the seven horses mark seven days of the week while 24 wheels mark the hours of the day. Each of the 24 wheels is about 10 feet in diameter having sets of spokes and exquisite carvings. At the entrance of the temple are two lions. There are a number of steps leading to the main entrance of the temple. The main sanctum was 229 feet high while the audience hall is128 feet high. Unfortunately, the main sanctum housing the presiding deity has fallen off. The audience hall still remains intact.
The base of the temple, its walls and roof have many exquisite carvings. There are images of animals, men, warriors on horses and many others. Three images of Sun God have been created in such a way that they are well positioned to catch the sun rays at dawn, noon and sunset.
The Sun temple covers an area measuring 857 feet by 540 feet. Aligning to the east-west direction, the temple is surrounded by casuarina plantations and other types of trees. Many parts of the temple are now in ruins.
Reaching Sun Temple
Air : To visit the Sun temple of Konark, tourists can take a flight to Bhubaneshwar. The capital of Orissa is at a distance of 64 kms from Konark.
Rail : The nearest railheads are Puri and Bhubaneshwar at distances of 31 and 64 kms respectively.
Road : Konark can easily be reached from all parts of Orissa. Direct bus services are available from Bhubaneshwar and Puri.