An architecture marvel of Eastern India and a symbol of India’s heritage, Konark Sun Temple, commonly known as Konark is situated in the eastern state of Orissa, India and is one of the eminent tourist attractions. Konark houses a massive temple dedicated to the Sun God. The word ‘Konark’ is a combination of two words ‘Kona’ and ‘Arka’. ‘Kona’ means ‘Corner’ and ‘Arka’ means ‘Sun’, so when combines it becomes ‘Sun of the Corner’. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to Sun God. Konark is also known as Arka khetra. There are three images of the Sun God at three different sides of the temple, positioned in proper direction to catch the rays of the sun at morning, noon and evening.
Sun Temple of Konark, built in the middle of 13th century, is a massive conception of artistic magnificence and engineering dexterity. King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty had built this temple, with the help of 1200 artisans within a period of 12 years (1243-1255 A.D.). Since the ruler used to worship the Sun, the temple was considered as a chariot for the Sun God. Konark Temple was designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels , each about 10 feet in diameter, and drawn by 7 mighty horses. It is really difficult to understand, how this huge temple, every inch-space of which was so wonderfully carved, could have been completed within such a short time. Whatever that might be, the konark temple even in its present ruined state, still a wonder to the whole world. Great poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: “here the language of stone surpasses the language of man.”
Konark Surya Temple 13th Century (Monuments of India, Vol. 1)
Around the base of the temple there are images of animals, foliage, warriors on horses and other interesting structures. On the walls and roof of the temple beautiful erotic figures are carved. Sun temple of Konark is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture.
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural greatness but also for the sophistication and abundance of sculptural work. Konark is an exceptional mixture of marvelous temple architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty. The large structure of Konark Temple seen today is actually the entrance of the main temple. The main temple which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off and only the remains can be seen. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificent temple reflecting the mastermind of the architects that imagined and constructed it.
Inspite of the decay over the centuries the beauty of this monument is still amazing. If you are seriously interested in architecture and sculpture then you must visit this world famous monument.
- The main temple structure and the geometrical patterns all around the temple
- The carved wheels and the spokes of the wheel which serve as sun dials
- Architectural figures including the war horses, the elephants and the guarding lions at the entrance
- The Nata Mandir (Dancing Hall)
- Three images of Sun God at three direction of the temple to catch the rays of the Sun at dawn, noon and sunset
- The various images of dieties, dancers, musicians, elephants and mythical creatures
- The second level of the temple structure which showcases the famous erotic sculptures
- The Sun temple museum run by Archaelogical Survey of India
- The Nava Graha (Nine Planets) Temple
- The Konark is the third link of Odisha’s Golden Triangle. The first link is Jagannath Puri and the second link is Bhubaneswar (Capital city of Odisha)
- The Konark temple is constructed as a gigantic chariot with 24 wheels about three meters high and pulled by 7 horses, housing the Sun God within
- The entrance is guarded by two huge lions, each killing a war elephant and beneath the elephant is a man. The lions represent pride, elephants represent wealth and both of them consumes man
- Konark temple was initially built on the sea bank but now the sea has receded and the temple is a little away from the beach. This temple was also known as ‘Black pagoda’ due to its dark color and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Odisha
- Everyday, the Sun’s rays would reach the Nata Mandir from the coast and reflects from the diamond placed at the center of the idol
- A heavy magnet was placed at the temple top and every two stones of the temple is sandwiched by iron plates. The idol was said to have been floating in air due to the arrangement of magnets. The magnet at the top is said to have disturbed compasses for coastal voyagers and later on removed
Brief Description – On the shores of the Bay of Bengal, bathed in the rays of the rising sun, the temple at Konarak is a monumental representation of the sun god Surya’s chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of six horses. Built in the 13th century, it is one of India’s most famous Brahman sanctuaries
The Konark Dance Festival organised here every year is a great attraction for tourists. The Konark Museum of the Archeological Survey of India has a good collection of sculptures from the temple ruins.