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The Sun Temple of Konark, spelt by some as Konarak and sometimes called the “Black Pagoda”, in India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
History of the Sun Temple, Konark
The temple was commissioned in approximately 1250AD by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, thought to be a celebration of his military victory over the Muslims. Constructed in honour of Surya, the Hindu deity of the sun, the Sun Temple of Konark is designed as a representation of this deity’s horse-drawn chariot, complete with (originally seven) horses and giant wheels. This effect is created through the external decoration of two of the buildings of the Sun Temple of Konark – the entrance hall and the main shrine.
The temple was only actually in use for about 300 years: the 40m high spire collapsed (in part at lease) in the late 16th century. The exact cause of this is unknown and historians have speculated as to whether it was ransacked, hit by a cyclone or the copper was taken for profit.
In the 19th century, the British made an effort to restore and conserve the temple in recognition of its importance. The site was granted UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1984.
With numerous intricately decorated stone buildings and the magnificence of its pyramid-like entrance hall, the Sun Temple of Konark is a popular tourist attraction. It opens at dawn, so go early to avoid the crowds, and expect to spend a couple of hours here.
Guides will offer up their services, and it’s worth searching out a government approved guide as they can be extremely enlightening, particularly on some of the subtler artistic and architectural details. Keep an eye out for the erotic sculptures!
There’s also a small archaeological museum which is worth
Getting to the Sun Temple of Konark
Konark is just inland (c. 3km) from the east coast of India, and makes for a popular day trip from the nearby Bhubaneswar or Puri
Sun Temple, Konark Historical Facts and Pictures
Konark Sun Temple, located at Konark in the state of Odisha, India, is a thirteenth century Sun Temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple looks like a gigantic chariot with twenty-four ornately curved wheels along with richly sculpted walls and pillars. The Samba Purana and Bhavishya Purana both mentions three sun temples located at Mundira, Kalapriya (present day Mathura), and Multan. Mundira is suspected to refer to the present day Konark. The current Sun Temple is believed to have been built by Narasimhadeva I (1238 CE-1264 CE), ruler of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. It might have been built as a monument to celebrate his victory against the Turkic ruler Tughral Tughan Khan.
Sun Temple Konark Pictures
Sun Temple Konark Side View
Konark Sun Temple Inside
Inside of Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple Sculptures
Konark Sun Temple Sculptures Images
Konark Sun Temple Sculptures Photos
Konark Sun Temple Sculptures Pictures
Konark Sun Temple Sculptures
Konark Sun Temple Horse
Konark Sun Temple Horse Images
Konark Sun Temple Horse Photos
Konark Sun Temple Horse Pictures
Konark Sun Temple Wheel
Konark Sun Temple Wheel Pictures
Although a major portion of the temple is currently in ruins, the rest of the structure is well-maintained and protected, being one of the most visited tourist spots of the country.
In 1250, During the rule of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, King Narasimhadeva I decided to build a Temple for Surya Bhagavan The Sun God. Many other sculptures like wheels and Horses are carved on the rock and assembled here. The Temple was called a Black Pagoda Because the Tower appeared to be Black.
Many Erotic Sculptures just like Ajantha and Ellora Caves are carved here. This was given Unesco World Heritage site status in 1984.
Namaste India Trip Blog
Konark home to the Sun Temple, amazing one third of Orissa Golden Triangle.
Temples, architectural and cultural tours are some of rich enticing travel attractions Konark has to offer.
History of Konark
The history of Konark in the eastern region of India is entwined with the legendary Sun Temple. The name itself has meaning related to the Sun-Konark a combination ‘Kona’ which means corner and ‘Arka’ stands for the sun, the leading to the meaning corner of sun. The befitting name is testament to the district’s firm establishment as a centre for worshipping the sun.
The earliest reference to Konark can be found in the epic Purana where it was called Mundira and a sun temple had already existed civilizations ago. With its coastal location near Bay of Bengal, it was also a busy port that enjoyed good relations with the Southeast Asian regions. The most notable period in Konark history is in the 13th century when the King Narasimhadeva I of the Ganga dynasty completed the construction of the monumental Sun temple to commemorate their victory over the Muslims.
Tourism in Konark
Konark, in the eastern region of India, is synonymous with the grand Sun Temple, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its ancient state, the majestic temple still stands tall in full splendor as one can only be filled with awe at the architectural masterpiece. The red sandstone roof rises to a towering height of 30m. The temple is built to resemble the divine chariot used as by Surya, the Sun God, hence the name. This chariot temple was to have been pulled by 7 horses, to represent the days in the week. Only a single horse structure remains standing. The base of the chariot is supported by 24 stone wheels, to represent the hours in a day. The intricate carvings on these wheels are another sight to marvel. There are 8 spokes on each wheel, which have proven to be accurate sundials as they are able to indicate the time of the day perfectly. All around the temple, there are erotic sculptures and other figures of deities, noblemen and animals depicting various scenes.
Other remarkable temples worth the travel include the Melakadambur Shiva Temple, built in 11th century, the one of Konark’s oldest chariot temples and closely resembles the Sun temple. Mayadevi Temple, also referred as Ramachandi temple, is believed to be built in dedication to one of the wives of the Sun God. The walls of this ancient temple are carved with erotic figurines of dancing nymphs, motifs of flowers, scenes of the court and hunting sessions.
The Museum and Beach
The Archaeological Museum of Konark is a must visit, following the tour to the Sun Temple. Founded in 1968 and with four marvelous galleries, this museum is home to varying stone sculptures, artifacts and intricate carvings numbering over 200. The archaeological finds of the detached sculptures from the Sun temple are displayed in the first gallery. The amazing embellishments on the sculptures of the Hindu deities, the meticulous display of various scenes, cult objects and interesting artifacts such as roaring lions and garlanded swans are nothing short of impressive craftsmanship. The museum is a fertile learning ground about Orissa’s architectural evolution and development.
Konark beach, which is also called Chandrabhaga, is a very popular travel spot. The tranquil settings among the strong waves and clear sand will naturally evoke a sense of peace to any traveler.
Konark Dance Festival
The magical Konark Dance Festival is celebrated annually over five days during first week of December. The festival is an enthralling cultural visual treat with international following. The classical bonanza takes place at an open dance hall, called Natya Mandir set up near the Konark beach. It showcases the very best of performing arts, from any region of India, in classical music and traditional dance forms which include Bharatanatyam, Chau, Kathak, Manipuri and Odissi.
Some Interesting Facts About The Surya Temple
- The wheels of the temple are sundials – The twelve pairs of wheels at the base of the temple are not just representations of chariot wheels but also accurate sundials. One can tell the time just by looking at the shadows cast by the spokes of the wheels.
- The main idol of the temple used to float – Konark Sun Temple Bhubaneshwar was constructed in a unique manner, with a heavy magnet situated at the temple top and every two stones sandwiched between iron plates. The distinct arrangement of these magnets created a magnetic field that allowed the main temple idol to float in mid-air.
- The sculptural depiction of mortality – The entrance to the Sun Temple Konark features two lions on either side, each crushing an elephant which in turn is crushing a human figure. The lions depict pride and the elephants depict wealth. The sculptures represent the typical failing of mankind in which we chase wealth and become too proud, but ultimately both pride and wealth end up crushing us and we die alone and without any wealth to our name.
Dancers performing at Konark Dance Festival
Konark Temple Was Constructed As An Encyclopedia
I’m gonna show you the way Konark temple was constructed as an encyclopedia, as a College that teaches varied topics for all age groups. I’ve realized that you could divide this temple into many alternative topics according to its height.
The Primary 2 foot
The primary 2 ft are carved for small children beneath 5 years. And once you attain the ages of 6 to 10, you’ll see things like dancing, singing, and enjoying musical instruments. The temple holds an enormous quantity of carvings about music and dancing. That is an odyssey, the traditional dance of the region. There are 128 postures of traditional Indian dance, carved on this temple. If you’re a tough child, you too can see martial arts like boxing and wrestling. In fact, life can be no enjoyable without games. So you’ll be able to study games like tug of war as properly.
The third level, a match for ages between 11 and 15 has enormous scientific info, specifically astronomy. This wheel is a sundial that may inform the correct time, precisely right down to a minute! The temple, devoted to the Solar God Surya is a huge symbolic illustration of how the Solar works. The temple is shaped like a chariot with 24 wheels representing 24 hours of the day, which includes three sun gods: the morning sun with a cheerful face, the somber midday sun, and the night sun with a sad face. However, all consultants and commoners have missed one thing essential. What are these bizarre animals carved on both aspects of the chariot? They’re horses in an extremely disintegrated state, they have been disfigured by international invaders.
Why Is The Chariot Being Pulled By Seven Horses?
There are a complete of seven horses that pull the chariot of the sun. Now, Why is the chariot being pulled by 7 (seven) horses? Some say, identical to the 24 wheels signify 24 hours of the day, the 7 horses signify 7 days of the week. However, this isn’t true. Astronomers agree that the 7 days of the week will not be linked to the Sun in any respect, and a few civilizations even had eight-day weeks, as a result of it isn’t related to the movement of the sun and the earth.
So, why is the chariot of the Sun-god being pulled by 7 (seven) horses? Should you speak to the elderly, folks in this area, they reveal some intriguing info. They are saying that each of the 7 horses was painted with a special shade of the rainbow. So, this horse was most likely painted with violet, this one with indigo, and so forth.
Now, we all know that Issac Newton discovered that daylight shouldn’t be white, however, made of seven completely different colors. This was a startling discovery again then, and even now it’s laborious to simply accept that daylight is definitely made of seven completely different colors. Newton found this within the 1600s, however, this temple was constructed practically 400 years earlier than Newton, so how did the traditional builders know that the Daylight was really made of various colors? More importantly, why aren’t historians recording this of their books? Anyway, now why the Sun God’s chariot is being pulled by 7 completely different horses.
The Konark Sun Temple was originally built by the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. King Narasimhadeva I who was the ruler of this dynasty built the sun temple. The temple is built from exotic ferruginous sandstone.
These sandstones were weathered and oxidized due to which it was easy to sculpture on these stones and this the reason for their black color and weathered look.
The temple is a signature of the rule of the Ganga Dynasty in Orissa. If myths and legends are to be believed then it can be said that this Sun Temple of Konark was built by Lord Vishnu’s son, Samba.
The story goes as follows: Samba was suffering from leprosy. This disease said to be a curse from his own father. He suffered from this disease for almost 12 years, after which the Lord Surya that is the Sun God cured him.
Therefore, in order to honor the Lord Surya for curing him, Samba built this sun temple. The word Konark is a Sanskrit word and is made by combining two words, “Kona” and “Arka”. Kona means angle while Arka means sun.
Konark Sun Temple-An Enduring Enigma on the Sands of Time
The wind howled across the desolate beach. The waves of the Bay of Bengal seemed to have gone berserk as they rose high to crash against the beach in a ceaseless cacophony of sound. The sky was overcast and a pall of black gloom seemed to be moving in on the distant horizon. It was afternoon, but the sun was nowhere to be seen. We were at the Chandrabhaga Beach, a few kilometers away from the famous World Heritage Site, the Konark Sun Temple.
As we watched the howling wind blowing away the sand violently from the surface of the beach, time itself seemed to have come to a standstill. It was as if the shifting sands had blown away the very dimension of time itself and we were able to travel back in time at our own sweet will!
Once Upon a Time at the beginning of the 20th Century
A sombre looking British gentleman follows his son who leads him around a corner and stretches out his hand excitedly pointing out at something. The British gentleman is flabbergasted at what he is seeing. Stretched out before him is a massive and magnificent structure, inlaid with exquisite carvings and sculptures. It is apparently a temple, but unlike any temple, he has seen in his life.
The temple stood, in front of him standing in grandiose style, rising to the blue skies as if in triumphant obeisance. What was really astounding was that there had been only huge mounds of sand at the place where the temple now stood revealed. He had known that a team of archaeologists had been working in the area, but had never expected that their find would be of such a gargantuan and exquisite nature. The Konark Sun Temple had been literally unearthed from the sands of time under which it had been buried for centuries.
Sometime in the 9th Century or earlier
Legend has it that Samba who was the son of Krishna, the popular Hindu God once fell victim to a curse and was afflicted with the dreaded disease of Leprosy. He did penance on the banks of what was then Chandrabhaga river for 12 long years and worshipped the Sun and became free from his disease. The original Konark Sun Temple is supposed to have been built by Samba near the mouth of the river.
Sometime in the 13th Century or earlier
A young man called Bisu Maharana makes his way to the court of King Narasimha Deva I deep in thought. The man who looks ordinary is actually an extraordinary architect well versed in the nuances of stone as well as a scientist who knew the secrets of esoteric sciences like electromagnetism and astronomy. The King makes his wish, crystal clear to Bisu Maharana. He has 12 years to build a temple dedicated to the Sun God near the banks of the Chandrabhaga. He can use the services of 1200 labourers to complete his labour of love, which has to be something that the world has never seen before. Bisu Maharana leaves the King’s court, his mind whirring with ideas, his heartbeats pulsating with excitement and the adrenalin coursing through his veins, a vague image of the finished temple already forming in his mind’s eye.
A couple of days were left for the 12 year period given by King Narasimha Deva I to elapse. Bisu Maharana gazed lovingly at the creation that he had conceived of and 1200 artisans had sweated for 12 long years to give shape to.
The structure glittered like a giant diamond against the dark night. The temple, in the shape of a mammoth chariot, pulled by 12 exquisite wheels on either side stood as if ready to take off into the sky. The structure shone brilliantly, embellished by magnificent sculptures and carvings meticulously given shape by the expert hands of the artisans.
Bisu Maharana should have been happy, one would have thought, but his brow was furrowed with lines of worry. The temple was not yet complete. One final piece was yet to be clicked into place to complete the complex puzzle that he had taken 12 long years to put in place.
A gigantic magnet weighing 52 tonnes remained to be placed at the top of the 229 feet tall roof of the sanctum sanctorum. This magnet along with other magnets in the temple would not only hold the rock structure reinforced with iron plates together but in what was to be the most brilliant of Bisu Maharana’s innovations, it would also ensure that the main idol of the Sun God which had iron constituents, would float in the sanctum sanctorum!
What was worrying Bisu Maharana was the fact that he had still not been able to come up with a way to hoist the huge magnet to the roof and time was ticking away. He and his army of artisans faced the prospect of death at the hands of the King if the structure remained incomplete after the 12 year period had elapsed.
This was when a miracle happened. A 12-year-old boy called Dharmapada, who was none other than Bisu Maharana’s son, whom he had never seen as he left home when his wife was pregnant to devote his time to building the Konark Sun Temple, arrived on the scene.
The young boy does what his father and his 1200 artisans could not do, he hoists the magnet to the top of the roof. He then jumps into the swirling waters of the Chandrabhaga and gives up his life. After all, the King should not know that one more person than the prescribed 1200 men had been involved in the construction of the temple or it would have spelled their death. So Dharmapada sacrificed his life to save the life of his father Bisu Maharana and his 1200 strong contingent of workers.
Konark Sun Temple – Back to the Present
The myths and legends surrounding the Konark Sun Temple are many and each one of them is more intriguing and fascinating than the other. Though it is impossible to sift fact from fiction, what is clear is the fact that the builders of the Konark Sun Temple were not only blessed with the genius of artistry in sculpture and architectural design, but they were equally well versed in the sciences of astronomy and electromagnetism.
A major part of the Konark Sun Temple is in ruins today, but what survives is enough to give one a glimpse of what the structure must have looked like in the past.
Today the stones of Konark Sun Temple sing a melodious tune in stone. The surviving Nata Mandir or Dance hall with its exquisitely carved pillars strike a mellifluous note and transport the visitor to a time when the hall stood proudly in all its glory and graceful danseuses moved to lilting music that enthralled the audiences.
Even today the Konark Sun temple comes alive to vibrant color, music, and dance during the Konark Dance Festival which is an annual event. Konark Sun Temple is considered as one of the seven wonders of India.
The entrance to the temple has an intriguing pair of statues, a lion can be seen trampling an elephant and a man can be seen lying below the elephant.
The main and dominating surviving structure today is the Jagamohana or audience hall which itself is closed and filled with sand and stone to prevent it from collapsing. The Sanctum Sanctorum which housed the Sun God, once stood proudly behind the Jagamohana before it met its end and fell to dust.
One of the most enduring pieces of sculpture which combines art and science is the famous Konark Wheel. These can be found around the temple one either side and seem in perfect condition.
The wheels can still tell the time of the day today and stand as a mute witness to the inexorable march of time. A silent and circular mark on the sands of time.
The other unique facet of the Konark Sun Temple is the exquisite carvings and sculptures that grace its precincts. Musicians, Dancers, Warriors, Gods, Goddesses, Demons, Animals all seem to jump to life, lovingly created in stone by unknown and unsung masters.
Even the ravages of time and nature have failed to dull the spark of life that the artists have captured in their stone creations. A walk around the temple precincts is sure to leave you enthralled as you see the expressive faces of the men and women, frozen in stone.
How to reach Konark Sun Temple by Bus-
There are many deluxe and good buses plying regularly from Puri and Bhubaneswar to Konark. Apart from this, some private tourist buses and taxis also run.
Due to the religious importance and beautiful design of Konark Sun Temple, millions of tourists come here not only from the country but also from abroad and enjoy the beautiful artwork of this magnificent temple and get rid of all kinds of sufferings.
Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.
Konarak is mentioned in ancient Hindu texts having mythological significance like the Puranas. Konaditya (Konarak) was believed to be the most sacred place for the worship of Surya in the entire Odisha region. In gratitude for healing his skin ailment, Samba, one of the gods Krishna’s many sons, erected a temple in the honor of Surya. He even brought some Magi (sun-worshippers) from Persia, as the local Brahmanas (the priestly class among the Hindus) refused to worship Surya’s image. This story was associated with a sun temple in north-western India but was shifted to Konarak in order 'to enhance the sanctity of the new center by making it the site of Samba’s original temple' (Mitra, 10). Konarak, over time, had emerged as an important site for sun worship and hence, a mythological background was considered necessary to increase its importance for devotees.
Magha Saptami and Samba Dashami are the two most important festivals of Konark Sun temple. Magha Saptami falls on the 7th day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha. The day is also known as Ratha Saptami, which is marked as the birthday of Lord Surya.
Thousands of pilgrims gather to take a holy dip in the Chandrabhaga River every year. However, the river has been reduced to a shallow pond. Besides, a fair is organized on this occasion known as the Chandrabhaga Mela.
Samba Dashami is celebrated on the 10th day of the waxing phase of the moon in Pausha month, as per the traditional Odia calendar.