Konark is located on the sea shore. Also called Konaditya, it is 33 kilometers from Puri and 64 kilometers from Bhubaneswar. The word Konark is derived from two words – ‘Kona’ which means corner and ‘Arka’ meaning sun.
Konark is known for state-of-the-art architectural specimen. It is also a spiritual standpoint in the history of India. Lord Krishna’s son Samba dedicated this temple as to the Sun God as he was cured of leprosy by the god. The temple forms a chariot pulled by seven horses that carry the God of Sun. Twenty four wheels support the chariot. All the wheels have a diameter of approximately 10 meters. The wheels have intricate carvings. The spokes are very distinct.
This place is of immense architectural value. The statue of Jagmohana is the main attraction. It brings out the contemporary architectural excellence of ancient times. It was built by Ganga King Narasimha Deva in the year 1278. The temple is also sometimes called as ‘Black Pagoda’.
Two giant lions are present at the entrance. They are crushing elephants. Statues of horses are present on either side of the stairs that lead to the main temple area. The temple is marked with beautiful sculptures and carvings of all sorts. There are thousands of images of gods, goddesses, men, women and scenes from life in the 13th century.
Places to visit:
Astaranga: It is situated on the sea-shore. It is 91 kilometers from Puri and 10 kilometers from Kakatapur. It is famous for its multicolored horizon during the sunset. This breath taking view totally justifies the name of the place. Salt production and fishing are important activities.
Chandrabhaga Mela: This is a very famous fair takes place in the month of February. It is called Magha Saptami. This day marks the worshipping of the Sun God. Hordes of people gather in Konark at this occasion. Every year, they celebrate the birth of the Sun God. It is the second biggest festival in Orissa, first being the Car Festival of Puri.
Konark Beach: Though the waters are calmer at this place, the beach offers beautiful views of the temple.
Konark Dance Festival: This festival celebrates classical dance. It takes place from 1st to 5th December every year. It plays a major role in preserving and furthering the tradition of the temple dance in Orissa. Classical dancers from all over India gather to display live performances.
Konark Matha: This monastery is situated towards the southern closure of the Sun Temple. Idols are absent and only a void is worshipped. This concept forms part of Buddhism according to which there is a presence of an eternal void. The local people also refer to it as the “Samba Ashram”. Legend has it that Samba raised his hutment here to worship the Sun. There is a fireplace that has been reserved continued since the beginning of the monastery.
Konark Sun Temple: The Orissan temple architecture contributes to the magnificence of the Sun Temple at Konark. The temple stands erect on the beach with sands all around it. Although the sea touched its base once upon a time, it is now 2 kilometers from the sea. It was used by the European sailors as a navigation point.
Melakkadambur Shiva Temple: It was built in the Kulottunga Chola era which lasted from 1075 to 1120. It is well preserved. Legend has it that this temple sowed the seeds of construction of other temples consisting of chariots. Another temple, known as the Suryanaar Temple near Kumbhakonam, was also built under the same dynasty. Although the temples dedicated to the Sun are prominent all over India, they seemed to have not affected the Tamil speaking region of the country.
Ramchandi Vishnu Temple: The temple dedicated to Goddess Ramachandi is present on the south west side of the Sun Temple. The presence of this temple arouses varying opinions. Some people are of the opinion that this temple belongs to Mayadevi, the wife of Surya (the Sun God). The rest opine that this was the temple prior to the current Sun temple where the Sun God was worshipped.
Vishnu Temple: A broken brick temple is found behind the Ramchandi Temple. The pillar in the front is supposed to the seat of Garuda, the charioteer of Lord Vishnu.
How to reach
By air: The Bhubaneswar airport is the most expedient point for entering the city with a number of flights connecting Konark with Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai plying on a regular basis.
By rail: Located in the twin cities of Puri and Bhubaneswar, the railway stations at Konark is well linked with almost all the major destinations in India by regular trains.
By road: An extensive road network of within Konark, connects it well to the rest of the country via National highways and State highways linking it with Puri, Bhubaneswar and other cities in Odisha (Orissa) and its neighboring states.