Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple

The Konark Temple is situated in the Eastern State of Odisha, India. This temple was built in the year 1250 AD under the reign of Ganga Dynasty by King Narasimhadeva. Konark Temple is also recognized as ‘The Black Pagoda’ as it was constructed by black granite stones and red sandstones. Constructed in the shape of a colossal chariot, this Hindu temple is dedicated to the Sun God and it attracts a large number of tourists worldwide for its intricate carvings on the stones which can be seen on the entire temple structure. This temple is a masterpiece of the Kalinga Style of architecture.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Konark Sun Temple

This exquisite piece of art was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1984. Inspite of the damage in its construction by the invaders and the decay it is facing from the past centuries, you can still witness the excellence of the architecture which reflects the intelligence of the artisans who constructed this masterpiece in a short span of only 12 years. If you are an art lover as well as a history lover than you should visit this place at least once in your lifetime.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Kalinga Style Architecture

Konark Sun Temple History

In the mid of 13th century, the entire north India and many parts of Bengal were invaded by the Mughal Dynasty. In the year 1243, a massive battle took place between King Narasimhadeva and the Mughal Army, in which the Mughal Army were defeated by the King of Ganga Dynasty.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Animal Motifs Carved on the Walls

After his glorious win, King Narasimhadeva decided to construct a temple and a victory tower to celebrate his victory. Instantly, after the win, the King started the construction of Konark Sun Temple which took nearly 12 years from 1243 AD to 1255 AD to complete. The King appointed nearly 1300 artisans to make this temple a magnificent piece of art.

Architecture of Konark Temple

This popular tourist spot called Konark Temple is an architectural sensation of the eastern India. The word Konark is made up of two words ‘Kona’ (Corner) and ‘Arka’ (Sun) and thus, means ‘Sun of Corner’. This temple is also called ‘Arka Shetra’.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Speculative Sketch of Konark Sun Temple

 King Narasimhadeva constructed this Sun temple in the shape of a gigantic chariot, which has 24 wheels with a diameter of about 9 feet and is decorated splendidly. Seven potent horses are drawing this massive chariot. Three figures of Sun God can be seen on the three directions of this temple, which were engraved in perfect locations to take the sun rays during morning, evening and noon time. Two huge lions can be seen on the entrance of the main gate. These are built like defeating a giant elephant. These giant elephants are again lying on a Human. These were built to represent the preeminence of Hinduism (lion represents Hinduism) over Buddhism (elephant represents Buddhism).

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple facts
Main Entrance

At the way in, there is a space called ‘Nata Mandir’ where the dancers of the temple used to perform dance in order to worship the Sun God. Near the ‘Nata Mandir’ (Dancing Hall), there is an area called Dining Hall (Bhoga Mandapa). On the lower part or base of this temple, you can see figures of different fighters on horses, animals etc. Many erotic figures can also be seen on the roofs and walls of the Konark Temple. Everywhere in this temple you will see many amazingly engraved geometric and floral designs. This temple is an ideal example of engineering deftness and artistic brilliance in India’s medieval period.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Nata Mandir

The massive structure we can see today is only the entryway of the main gate. The actual temple which was built for the presiding God has fallen off after the great damage faced by this temple by the attack of the Mughals during 15th century. A little part of the Dancing hall and Dining Hall can be seen today. The Sanctum we see today is about 230 feet in height and the Audience Hall bordering the Sanctum and the temple is about 130 feet high. The lush garden surrounding the temple premises is also a nice place to spend some quality time.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Main Sanctum Konark Temple

Why Konark Temple collapsed?

According to the legends, the Chandrabhaga river (now dead) used to flow very close to the Konark Sun Temple and was connected to the Sea. Towns and centers of trading flourished near the river banks and also trading started with the foreign countries via sea routes.

During the construction of the Konark Temple, a part of natural magnetite called Lodestone was placed on the apex of the temple. As a result of the high magnetic effect of this lodestone, the compass of the boats sailing through the Konark Sea got disturbed and got attracted towards the temple’s magnetic aura and faced heavy loss due to damage of the boats.

But when Mughals started trading in the eastern parts of India, then to save their boats from getting destroyed, they took out the lodestone from the temple’s apex which resulted in heavy loss of the temple. The disproportion caused due to the removal of this magnetic stone greatly affected the balance of the temple construction and as a result, a big portion of the Konark temple collapsed. But according to the historians, no evidence regarding the placement and removal of the lodestone has been found till date.

Everything You Need to Know About Konark Sun Temple, konark temple
Ruins of Konark Temple

Another reason behind the collapse of the Konark Temple was Sultan Suleiman Karrani, a Muslim Governor from Bengal who was given the name ‘Kalapahad’. He attacked Odisha during 1508 and destroyed many Hindu temples in and around Odisha including the Konark Sun Temple. Though the temple walls were nearly 22-25 feet thick, yet Kalapahad displaced the Arch Stone (Dhadinauti) of the temple and due to misbalance the temple collapsed. He also damaged the other temples which surrounded the chief temple of Konark and also the intricate stone works on the walls of the temples.

During the invasion of Kalapahad, the priests of the Konark Temple safely took away the idol of the Sun God and hide it in the sands for several years. Afterwards, the idol was kept inside the Indra temple in Puri. According to some historians, the idol of the Sun God is not yet discovered while some historians believe that the idol kept in Delhi’s National museum is the original Sun God of the Konark Temple. These are some Konark Sun Temple facts associated with this temple.

Chief Attractions You Should visit in Konark Temple

The temple sanctum and beautiful art works on the walls of the sanctum.

The Nata Mandir or the Dancing Hall.

The three figures of the Sun God on the three directions of the temple.

The engraved wheels of the gigantic chariot and the spokes of the wheels which resemble sundials.

The excellent cut work images of elephants and lions on the main gate entrance.

The images of the mythical creature, celestial bodies, animals, dancers, human musicians and floral designs.

The base of the temple designed with many erotic human figures.

The Nava Graha Temple which resembles the nine planets of the solar system.

The Konark Temple Museum which is supervised by the Archeological Survey of India.

How to Reach Konark Temple

1. The closest airport to Konark is the Bhubaneswar International Airport which is well connected with the cities of India and a number of cities abroad. Bhubaneshwar airport is at a distance of 64 kms from Konark and cabs are available outside the airport to reach Konark.

2. There are two railway stations close to Konark namely, Puri railway station and Bhubaneshwar railway station which are 35 kms and 63 kms away from Konark respectively. You will get Bhubaneshwar to Konark city buses as well.

3. Konark is well connected by roadways with all the cities and towns of Odisha. Buses are also available from the cities of West Bengal to Konark.

Travel Tips

The Konark Temple timing is 6:00 am to 8:00 pm for all the days.

The entry charge is 40 bucks per Indian and 600 bucks per foreigner.

For the citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC the entry charge is 40 bucks only.

Wear comfortable clothes specially cotton attires as the weather in Konark is hot and very humid.

Always keep water bottles with you.

Carry a good quality sunscreen lotion to avoid suntan.

Hiring a private cab for exploring the Konark Sun Temple is a great option as this place will force you to spend some more time here.

It takes 1-2 hours to explore the entire temple and its premises.

Keep your camera ready to capture some best photos of the glorious art works of this place.

Best Time to Visit Konark Temple

1. During summer season from April to June the weather is very hot in Konark as well as in the entire state of Odisha. The temperature ranges from 30 degrees to a maximum of 45 degress. The humidity is also unbearable. So, a visit to Konark is not advisable in summers.

2. In monsoon, the Konark weather remains pleasant with a temperature ranging from 25 degrees to 32 degrees. Though this time is ideal for sightseeing yet a chance of sudden rainfall is always there which can ruin your plan.

3. In winter season, the temperature ranges from 16 degrees to 30 degrees and the weather conditions are perfect for an ideal sightseeing.

4.The best time to visit the Konark temple is in between 6:00 am to 6:45 am when the sun rays fall on the temple structure. The view at that is so exquisite that it will make you spellbound for some time.

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