Sun Temple Konark, UNESCO Heritage Site
Sun Temple at Konark is a famous and gigantic chariot shaped 13th century temple dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. Konark Sun Temple was built by the Eastern Ganga Dynasty king Narasimhadeva I.
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Konark is a city on the Bay of Bengal Coast in the Puri district of Odisha state, India. This temple at Konark is also known as “Black Pagoda”, as the temple is built of black granite from ‘Khondalite’ rocks. (Jagannath temple at Puri is known as White Pagoda). Sun Temple Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage site and much of the 12 th century temple is in a ruined state now. This temple is also known as Konark Mandir, Surya temple and Surya Mandir.
Konark Sun Temple’s pillars, walls and the chariot wheels are all carved extensively and the temple was featured as one of the “seven wonders of India”, by the leading Indian News / TV Channel networks of NDTV and Times of India. 12 pairs of the chariot wheels of the temple are of 3 meters in width and is pulled by 7 pairs of horses (one pair of horses is ruined now). Sun Temple Konark is a great example of ‘Kalinga’ architecture. The architecture of the temple is in such a way that first sunrise rays falls on the principal entrance of the Temple.
Due to the heavy weight of the 70 meter tall structure and the nature of the loose soil on the coastal area, the main original sanctum fell in 1837. Thirty meter tall audience hall is still intact and is the principal structure now. The dance hall and dining hall also have survived the test of time.
Two ruined temples were also discovered close to the main temple. ‘Mayadevi Temple’, situated on the south-western side of the main temple is one among them. This temple is dedicated to Mayadevi, wife of Sun God. This temple is believed to have been constructed in the 11th century. Existence of older Mayadevi temple along with other evidences suggests that another Sun temple may have existed at the current site (which may have been damaged). The second ruined temple is close to the main Konark Sun temple and is dedicated to an unknown ‘Vaishnava’ deity.
There is a museum at Konark, which houses some of the sculptures and other ruins of the temple.
Konark is also famous for the annual Indian classical dance festival called “Konark Dance Festival“, held during the month of December.
How Do I Go to Konark Sun Temple?
Sun Temple at Konark is situated at a distance of 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Ohidha state.