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Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple: The tantalising charm of Odisha

Dargah of Saint Moinuddin Chishti

Dedicated to the Sun God, the world renowned Konark Temple in Odisha was built in the 13th century. The exquisite and impeccable stone carvings and chariot shaped architecture of the temple is ephiphanic to look at. Basically, it reveals how the the Sun God would roam around in his chariot. It has been included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites since 1984. The Sun Temple is the chief attraction of the Konark village which is located at the Bay of Bengal coast.

It is believed that the King of Ganga dynasty, Narasimhadeva built the Sun Temple in 1250 AD. Presumably, he built the temple to commemorate the success of Ganga dynasty against the fatal invaders by Muslim intruders. Though, later in the 15th century, one of the Muslim invaders- the Yavana army, sacked the Konark Temple. It later also suffered a collapse due to the nearby marshy foundation and hence, it was later restored during the British reign.

Following are the main attractions of the Konark Temple:

The Huge Chariot: The Konark Sun Temple is built in the form of a huge sun chariot. It has 12 pairs of stone carved wheels, which are dragged by seven finely sculpted horses. Currently, only one of the horses does survive in an intact manner.

Hall of Offerings: The entrance of the Sun Temple is on the eastern side. It is sea facing, and opens to the Hall of Offerings, or the bhogamandapa. The Hall of Offerings had been a recent addition to the temple's architecture and was constructed for performing dance rituals. The walls of the offerings are embellished with exquisite carvings of musicians.

Dargah of Saint Moinuddin Chishti

Sanctuary tower: Initially, it was regarded as the centre of attention of the Sun temple. Though today, only few sandstone slabs remain out of the historic majestic structure. Now, the pyramidal roof grabs the attention due to its fine design and imposing architecture. The pyramidal roof is made up of three tiers, which comprise of the statues of the musicians. The sculpture of Shiva Nataraja, performing the epiphanic cosmic dance is present in the last tier.

Statue of Surya: The tantalising Statue of Surya is made with the green coloured chlorite stone.  It is definitely one of the rare art masterpieces. The small statue of Aruna, the charioteer is also present with the main statue.

Other sculptures: Similar to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, there are several erotic sculptures which are also embellished in the temple. The other sculptures include mythical beasts, floral patterns, animals, deities and aquatic monsters.

Excursions from Konark Temple: Travellers can explore Chandrabhaga beach ( 4 km), Puri ( 35 km), Bhubaneshwar ( 64 km) and Cuttack ( 81 km).

Shopping in Konark: The beautiful sculptures with fine embellishments of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are the main attractions of Konark. The Patta paintings are the most craved favourites of art lovers.

Dargah of Saint Moinuddin Chishti

When to Reach: One can visit Konark Temple any time of the year. Though, the best time to visit is during the December when the Konark Dance Festival takes place.

How to Reach
Air: The closest airport to Konark is in Bhubaneshwar which is 64 km away.
Rail: The nearest railway station to Konark is in Puri, which is 35 km away.
Road: One can easily commute to Konark with state run bus services from Puri and Bhubaneshwar.

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