4.7 / 5

Sun Temple Konark

📍 Konark Sun Temple, OdishaView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:October to March

⏰ Open Hours:Sunrise to Sunset

🏞 Things To Do:Visit the temple, explore carvings, photography, visit nearby beach

💰 Budget:Free entry for Indians, INR 30 for foreigners

🧳 Traveller Types:Historians, Cultural Explorers, Spiritual Seekers, Photographers

📌 Known For:UNESCO World Heritage site, intricate stone carvings, Sun Dial, unique chariot shape

📍 Distances:35 km from Puri, 65 km from Bhubaneswar airport, 3 km from Konark railway station

📷 Photography:Allowed

♿ Accessibility:Wheelchair accessible with ramps and facilities

📜 UNESCO Status:World Heritage Site since 1984

🏛 Architecture:Kalinga Architecture, 13th-century CE temple built by King Narasimhadeva I

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Sun Temple Konark: A Marvel of Ancient Indian Architecture and Astronomy

Have you ever wondered how the ancient Indians built a temple that resembles a giant chariot of the Sun God, with 12 pairs of intricately carved wheels and seven horses? How did they manage to create such stunning sculptures and artworks that depict the life and culture of their times? How did they use magnets and iron beams to make the temple’s main idol float in the air? And how did they design the temple as a precise sundial that can tell the time of the day by the shadows of the wheels?

If you are curious to find out the answers to these questions, then you should definitely visit the Sun Temple Konark, one of the most magnificent and mysterious monuments of India. Located in the state of Odisha, about 35 km from Puri, the Sun Temple Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of India’s rich heritage and scientific achievements.

Photo of Sun Temple Konark 1/2 by
(C) Vajiram & Ravi

In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of the Sun Temple Konark, and explore its history, architecture, sculptures, and secrets. We will also provide you with some practical information and tips for planning your trip to this amazing destination. So, let’s get started!

The History and Origin of the Sun Temple Konark

The name Konark comes from two Sanskrit words: Kona (angle) and Arka (sun). It means the place where the sun rises at an angle. According to Hindu mythology, Konark is the place where Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was cured of leprosy by worshipping the Sun God Surya. To express his gratitude, Samba built a temple dedicated to Surya at Konark.

The current temple was built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. He commissioned a famous architect named Bishu Maharana to design and construct the temple. According to legend, Bishu Maharana had a son named Dharmapada, who was only 12 years old. Dharmapada joined his father at the temple site and solved a complex problem that baffled the other craftsmen. He also sacrificed his life to save his father’s honor and reputation.

The temple was built in a span of 12 years, with the help of 1200 artisans and craftsmen. It was designed as a massive chariot of Surya, with 24 wheels (each about 10 feet in diameter) and pulled by seven horses. The temple was also adorned with thousands of exquisite sculptures and carvings that depict various aspects of Hindu mythology, culture, and society.

The temple was a center of religious and cultural activities for many centuries. It was also a beacon of scientific and artistic excellence. However, due to natural calamities, foreign invasions, and human negligence, the temple suffered extensive damage and decay over time. Many parts of the temple were destroyed or stolen by invaders or treasure hunters. Today, only the main entrance hall (Jagamohana) remains intact, while the main sanctum (Deul) is in ruins.

Despite its dilapidated condition, the Sun Temple Konark still attracts millions of visitors every year. It is also the venue of the famous Konark Dance Festival, which showcases various classical dance forms of India. The temple is also illuminated every evening by artificial lights, creating a spectacular sight for the viewers.

Also Read: Ancient Indian Architecture - The Konark Sun Temple

The Architecture and Design of the Sun Temple Konark

The Sun Temple Konark is a masterpiece of Indian architecture and design. It reflects the advanced knowledge and skills of its builders in various fields such as geometry, engineering, astronomy, art, and symbolism.

The temple complex covers an area of about 25 acres. It consists of three main structures: the Deul (main sanctum), the Jagamohana (entrance hall), and the Natamandira (dance hall). The Deul was originally about 229 feet high, while the Jagamohana is about 128 feet high. The Natamandira is located in front of the Jagamohana, and is supported by 16 pillars.

The temple is oriented towards the east, so that the first rays of the sun fall on the main idol of Surya inside the Deul. The idol was made of iron and was suspended in mid-air by magnets. The magnets were also used to create an illusion that the idol was floating without any support.

The most striking feature of the temple is its chariot-like design. The Deul represents the body of the chariot, while the Jagamohana represents its canopy. The 24 wheels represent the 24 hours of a day, and the seven horses represent the seven days of a week. The wheels are also carved with intricate patterns and symbols that represent the 12 zodiac signs, the 12 months, the 8 directions, and the 8 stages of a woman’s life.

The wheels also function as accurate sundials. By measuring the shadows cast by the spokes of the wheels, one can tell the exact time of the day. The wheels are also aligned with the sun’s movement across the sky, and indicate the solstices and equinoxes.

The temple is also decorated with thousands of sculptures and carvings that depict various scenes and themes from Hindu mythology, literature, and society. Some of the prominent sculptures include:

The Nataraja: A large statue of Lord Shiva in his cosmic dance pose, located at the entrance of the Deul.

The Navagrahas: Nine statues of the nine planetary deities, located above the main entrance of the Jagamohana.

The Surya: Three statues of the Sun God Surya in different poses and moods, located on the three sides of the Deul. The statues are made of chlorite stone and are highly polished to reflect the sunlight.

The Erotic Figures: A series of sculptures that depict various forms of love and intimacy between men and women, located on the outer walls of the temple. These sculptures are considered to be a celebration of human sexuality and fertility, as well as a symbol of spiritual union and transcendence.

The Dancers and Musicians: A series of sculptures that depict various classical dance forms and musical instruments of India, located on the walls and pillars of the Natamandira. These sculptures are considered to be a tribute to the art and culture of India, as well as a representation of the harmony and joy of life.

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Photo of Sun Temple Konark 2/2 by
(C) Google

The Mysteries and Secrets of the Sun Temple Konark

The Sun Temple Konark is not only a marvel of architecture and art, but also a source of many mysteries and secrets that have puzzled and fascinated people for centuries. Some of these mysteries include:

The Mystery of the Magnets: How did the ancient Indians acquire such powerful magnets that could lift a heavy iron idol in mid-air? Where did they get them from, and how did they use them? How did they balance the magnetic forces to create a stable levitation? And what happened to these magnets after the temple was destroyed?

The Mystery of the Iron Beams: How did the ancient Indians forge such long and strong iron beams that could support the massive structure of the temple? What kind of iron ore did they use, and what was their smelting process? How did they transport and install these beams without any modern machinery? And why did they use iron instead of stone or wood for their construction?

The Mystery of the Missing Stone: How did the ancient Indians carve such a huge stone that weighed more than 80 tons and measured more than 20 feet in length, width, and height? What was its purpose, and where was it placed in the temple? And what happened to this stone after it disappeared from the temple site?

The Mystery of the Wheels: How did the ancient Indians design such precise and intricate wheels that could function as sundials, calendars, compasses, and zodiacs? What was their mathematical and astronomical knowledge, and how did they apply it to their construction? And how did they carve such detailed and diverse patterns and symbols on each wheel?

The Mystery of the Dancers: Who were these dancers who performed in front of the Sun God Surya in the Natamandira? What kind of dance forms did they practice, and what were their costumes and ornaments? And what was their role and status in the society?

There are many theories and hypotheses that attempt to explain or debunk these mysteries. Some are based on scientific experiments, historical records, or archaeological evidence. Others are based on folklore stories, religious beliefs, or imaginative speculations. However, none of these theories can provide a definitive or conclusive answer to these mysteries.

Conclusion

The Sun Temple Konark is one of the most amazing and mysterious monuments of India. It is a testimony to the ancient Indian civilization’s achievements in architecture, art, science, and culture. It is also a reflection of their worldview, values, and spirituality.

If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating temple, you should plan your trip to Konark soon. Here are some practical information and tips for your visit:

- The best time to visit Konark is between October and March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.

- The temple is open from 6 am to 8 pm every day. The entry fee for the temple is Rs. 40 for Indian nationals and Rs. 600 for foreign nationals. There is also a fee of Rs. 10 for camera and Rs. 25 for video camera.

- You can book your tickets online through the official website of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or through the Yatra app .

- You can reach Konark by road, rail, or air. The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, which is about 65 km away. The nearest railway station is Puri, which is about 35 km away. You can also take a bus or a taxi from Puri or Bhubaneswar to Konark.

- You can find a variety of accommodation options near Konark, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts. Some of the popular ones are The Konark , Lotus Resort , and Sun Temple Hotel .

- You can also visit some other nearby attractions, such as the Chandrabhaga Beach, the Ramachandi Temple, the Kuruma Village, the ASI Museum, and the Mayadevi Temple.

We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about the Sun Temple Konark.

Sun Temple Konark Reviews

The drive between Bhubaneswar and Konark is lovely with good roads and country side. It takes about an hour to reach Konark from Bhubaneswar. Standing in front of this magnificent was a dream come true,we immediately engaged a guide to know everything about the temple The Sun temple of Konark widely known for its fine harmony of design and architecture, its name is a clubbing of Kona (corner) and Arka (Sun), meaning the corner of the Sun.Ancient Sailors had named it as " Black Pagoda" because of its dark color ,but was dubbed as the cause of ship wrecks that occurred along the coast.There are many speculations regarding the fall of the temple. It is said that a massive magnet placed at the temple top had created an architectural marvel of Lord Surya's idol to float in air .The sailors took away the magnet which was integral part of the temple thus disturbing the stability of the structure. Other reason held for destruction is earthquake Guide narrated this legend as to " Why the Sun God does not get worshipped in the epic temple built for him" .The story goes back to 13th century A.D. , when 1200 WORKERS worked for 12 years to build the KONARK TEMPLE spread across 12 acre on the command of the King Narasimhadeva-1 of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The chief architect Bisu Maharana had a deadline to finish the temple in 12 years, finally failed to host the crown stone His son Dharmpada a 12 years boy whom he never saw since birth because he was busy with temple work visited the spot to see Dad's achievement,overhears the conversation of craftsmen , that they will be beheaded in case they fail to meet the deadline. Right from his childhood Dharmapada was interested in architecture and mastered all the manuscripts regarding temple construction. The small boy suggests a solution ,by midnight the kalash stone is rolled to the top of the Gopura. Dharmapada hears whispers that king will still not be kind with his father and other hardworking craftsmen,next day at sunrise ,he jumps off the the Temple top into the blue sea waters.Main attractions of the temple : 1. Natya Mandir is the first part of the temple.Every inch of the mandapa is filled with sculptures of women - dancing, singing, playing instruments, dressing up.
Rabindranath Tagore has aptly eulogised the temple as 'Poetry in Stone'. Conceived as a grand chariot drawn by seven horses, with 12 decorated wheels on either side, the temple is dedicated to the Sun God. It is believed that the seven horses are a representation of the seven days of the week and 12 wheels depict the months of an year. the temple is partly in ruins but the intricate stone work and colossal size are awe inspiring. There are three beautiful sculptures of the Sun God on the northern, western and southern facades of the temple tower. The sculpted scenes include the king holding a conference, couples in erotic poses, dancing women, hunts, battles, family scenes, sailors on voyage and so on. Each of this sculptures is significant like the voyages depict English sailors coming to the harbour and making the so called Back Pagoda as their landmark. The beautiful culture and history of the Orissa is beautifully depicted in the Konark festival held every year in the month of December where the beauty of this Sun temple increases many fold. The Konark temple marks the culmination of the temple building architecture in Orissa. Best time to visit:September-March Timings:6am - 8pm Entrance fees:₹10 for Indians, ₹250 for foreigners and free for children aged 15 years or below. Where to stay:Most people either stay in Puri or in Bhubaneswar and visit Konark on a day trip. However, there are some humble lodges and homestaysnear Konark temple that you can stay at like Surya Inn. How to reach:The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar at a distance of about 64 km. Bhubaneswar has direct flights from places like Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Nagpur. The two nearest railway stations are Puri, about 33 km away, and Bhubaneswar. State buses, tourist buses, taxis, private coaches and hired cars are easily available to reach Konark.
Having heard much about Konark templefrom a friend of mine, I was skeptical to step into it. But much of the sex positions was either depleted or wasn't understandable in one glance. I wonder what the guide would have told about the sculptures. But I overheard one guide telling that, "What we really think about Konark is not what it really is." My conscience doesn't let me have a guide. I feel cheated. But to know better I have to start hiring a guide. Konark was fabulous, the brown sculptures with green background, twilight. It was a photographer's delight. Great place to shoot song sequence. It'd have been great it no one had been there. Photos would have come out really well. As we wasted too much time in Konark we couldn't cover the Buddhist temple. We had to go to Bhubaneswar, have dinner there and start to catch train. Coramandel express was said to be best by couple of my friends but it was crowded like hell with open ticket people. When you travel in the east coast most of the people are workers. You feel pity for them but you can't help. You have to have your seat. In a way everything is an experience.
It is not a place to worship God Sun or any other God or Goddesses. It is a place to travel within and to understand our mind functions, the mystery of TIME and real source of energy which brings life on the earth. The entire plot of the temple is a brain child of Great Spiritual Masters. Out of thousands of visitors very few can understand the purpose and massage after the temple. To understand the temple one need to travel inside and that's why the temple is just unique in the world. Otherwise several temples have better carvings and stone art in India and other countries. Built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva, the temple is one of the most important Brahman sanctuaries, and is a world heritage site. It takes the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Puri is a hot favorite tourist destination for all bengalis. When we have no plans to travel anywhere, we surely know where to go, Puri. Located in the neighboring state of Orissa, Puri is a sea beach with the famous attraction being the Jagannath Temple. Another famous temple here is the Konark Sun Temple. It is a declared world heritage spot by UNESCO. Because of this recognition, the recent conservation works have enabled to keep the structure together and prevent it from turning into rubble. In the times when the temple was built, it was believed to have had a huge magnet on top of the structure. This was an architectural design that helped to keep hold of the inner design or skeleton of the temple made of iron. The magnet was so powerful, it used to attract ships from the nearby Bay. This created a lot of problem in navigation and was hence removed. On way while driving through, don't forget to run your finger through the cashew nuts hanging from the trees.
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