Every human creation has its own story to unfold. Since the ancient times, the monuments, caves and everything else that has been built by humans, has a saga that’ll enthral you every time you listen to it.
One such marvel of ancient India is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sun Temple of Konark, located in the state of Odisha, which captivates you with its mesmerizing beauty and remarkable artwork.
History of Konark Sun Temple
A symbol of India’s heritage, the Sun temple of Konark is the third link of Odisha’s golden triangle after Jagannath Puri and Bhubaneshwar.
It was built by Maharaja Narasimhadeva-I, an ardent worshipper of the Sun God and a great ruler of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 13th century.
Employing over 1200 artisans, this temple was designed in the form of a golden chariot for the sun god mounted on 24 gigantic wheels and pulled by seven mighty horses. This temple as constructed over 12 years (1243-1255 A.D).
The word Konark, a combination of two words, has its origins from our ancient language Sanskrit, where ‘Kona’ means a corner and ‘Arka’ means the sun. Hence, Konark means the ‘sun of the corner‘ that perfectly suits its location since it is situated on the north-eastern corner of Puri. It is also known as ‘Arka Kshetra’.
Architecture Of The Sun Temple:
The awe-inspiring Kalinga style of architecture of this temple will make you wonder about the marvels human hands can create.
Built entirely using stone, each nook, and corner of this temple is handcrafted with such finesse that leaves you spellbound.
In Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Sun God can be found riding a colossal chariot drawn by seven horses.
Thus, the temple’s structure was conceived in the form of a chariot, mounted on 12 pairs of wheels, each wheel about 10 feet in diameter, representing the 12 months of the year, and the seven horses represent seven days of the week.
The carved wheels with the spokes are positioned against the sides of the temple in a way that they act as sundials. The entrance of the temple is consists of two lions depicting pride, trampling two was elephants depicting wealth.
Beneath the elephants lies a man, indicating how pride and wealth both eventually consume a man.
There are three images of the sun god at three different sides of the temple, positioned in a way to catch the sun rays in the morning afternoon and evening.
The Konark temple was broken into five projections, hence it is also known as ‘Pancha Ratha’.
These five projections include the Vimana (main temple) which houses the deity, The Jagamohana (gathering hall in front of vimana), where worshippers can catch a glimpse of the deity, the Nritya Mandapa (dancing hall) and the Bhoga Mandapa (offering hall).
It has four doorways on its four sides, the western on leads to the Antarala, the inner sanctum, and the other three lead to the porches outside.
The basement of the temple comprises of exquisite sculptures depicting various events such as war processions, soldiers fighting, bears being chased by hunter among others.
However, the most touching of them all is the sculpture of a woman, separating from her son as she’s leaving for a pilgrimage.
The mid-section of the temple wall is covered with different imagery figures like Gajasurdala (lion upon an elephant) and Nagamithunas (half human half serpents).
The wheels of Konark temple are believed to depict various things by different people. Some believe they depict 12 years of a year and the spokes depict the eight ‘Prahars’ of a day, while others believe that these wheels depict the ‘wheel of life’ or the ‘wheel of karma’.
The architectural greatness blended with philosophy and knowledge makes this place a must-visit for your next vacation.
How To Reach Sun Temple, Konark?
The nearest Airport from Konark is the Bhubaneshwar airport, which is about 65 kilometres away.
Bhubaneshwar, being the capital of Odisha is very well connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, etc. and major airlines have daily flights to/from Bhubaneshwar.
The nearest railway stations are Bhubaneshwar (65 kilometres) and Puri (35 kilometres). Puri is the last point of the southeastern railway.
Both Puri and Bhubaneshwar have fast and superfast train connections to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, etc.
The Nearest cities are Bhubaneshwar and Puri. The state transport OSRTC buses, as well as private operators, provide buses from Puri to Konark sun temple.
Overall, Konark is also connected very well to other major cities like Kolkata (507 kilometres), Vishakhapatnam (475 kilometres) and Chennai (1254 kilometres) to name a few.
Best Time To Visit Sun Temple, Konark:
Since Konark is located on the beachside, the weather is pleasant during the winter. The best time to take a trip to Konark would be from October to March. This is also the peak season for travel to cultural places.
If you wish to witness Konark brimming with cultural beauty, you must attend the Konark Music and Dance festival, held annually at Konark in February.
Classical dancers and musicians of various art forms head over to Konark to showcase their remarkable skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sun Temple, Konark:
Q. Where is Konark?
A. Konark is in the state of Odisha. It is about 65 kilometres away from Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha
Q. Who built Konark sun temple?
A. King Narasimhadeva-I built this temple in the 13th century.
Q. What are the timings to visit Konark Sun temple?
A. The Temple is open on all days and the timings to visit the temple is from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Q. What are the ticket prices to visit the Konark sun temple?
A. For Indian as well as tourists from SAARC AND BIMSTEC countries, the entry fee is INR Rs. 40 per head. Entry fee for foreign tourists apart from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries have to pay INR Rs.600 as the entry fee.
Q. When does the light and sound show take place?
A. The light and sound show takes place at 7 pm and the tickets can be bought at the venue. You are also provided with wireless headphones with a choice between three languages: English, Hindi, and Odiya. The ticket price for light and sound show is Rs.30 per head.
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