ODISHA TRAVELS

THE SUN TEMPLE IN KONARK

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Our third day in Puri started off by spending some crazy moments at the beach. We went to the beach at around 6 AM, played in water, got photographed and had our breakfast. By 10 AM, we rushed back to the hotel and got freshened up quickly as we had to check out of the hotel by 12. Also, I quickly packed up my stuff which was lying all over the hotel room because we had to catch a train to Bangalore that night. Anyways, we decided to spend our entire third Day in Konark and visit the Konark Temple which is UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Konark Temple is located in Konark town of the Puri District in Odisha. With an approximate driving distance of 37 kms from Swargadwar, generally it takes somewhere around one hour from Swargadwar to reach Konark. But we stopped at many places on the way, and reached Konark around 2 in the afternoon. The first look of the temple left me speechless. It was a beautiful sight to behold and I was literally awe-struck by its enormity and sheer magnificence.

History of the Temple

The Sun Temple of Konark was built by King Narasimhadeva-I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 13th-century. The temple name ‘Konark’ is a combination of Sanskrit words, Kona (which means corner) and Arka (which means the Sun), in reference to the temple which was dedicated to the Sun God. This gigantic temple was built with the help of 1200 artisans over a period of 12 years. Since the entire Sun temple is built in black granite, it was also called the Black Pagoda by the European sailors. This temple is the epitome of highest point of achievement of Kalinga style of architecture. One very surprising and amazing fact about this temple is that it was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has got receded since then and now Chandrabhaga sea is about three kms away from the temple.

Architecture of The Sun Temple

The temple has been built in the form of a giant chariot which symbolizes the carrier of the Sun God. The Chariot has 12 pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels which was pulled by seven horses (out of which 4 were on the right and 3 were on the left). With maximum carvings and artistic work, this chariot is the highlight of the temple. The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. 

Sun Temple odisha
The Sun Temple in Konark

Entrance 

The main entrance of the temple is oriented towards the east (which is sea facing side) so that the first rays of sunrise strikes the principal entrance first. The Entrance of the temple is guarded by two big sculptures of lions which shows lions prowling over the elephants and the elephant prowling over the human. 

Konark Temple
Entrance of The Sun Temple

 

Entrance
Elephant-Lion Guard at the entrance

All the walls of the temple has beautiful carvings. The base or the lower part of the temple depicts images of animals, plants, warriors, elephants, while the walls and roof tops have erotic figures carved.This place was so beautiful that we spent close to 5 hours there.

Three Main Structures in Temple

There are three Main Structures inside the Temple which are The Main SanctumThe Jaganmohana or the pyramid-shaped audience hallThe Natya Mantapa and the dining hall (Bhoga mandapa)

The Main Sanctum and The Jaganmohana:

The original temple had a Main Sanctum Sanctorum or Vimana, which was approximately 229 feet (70 m) tall but the main Vimana fell in 1837 due to the weight of the structure and weak soil of that area. 

Jaganmohana, also known as The Audience Hall or front porch is 128 feet (30 m) tall principal structure which survived the ruins and is still there. Pyramidal in shape, Jaganmohana is the front part of the Sanctum Sanctorum covered by the main temple tower or the Vimana. Since the Vimana of the temple fell several centuries ago, the Jaganmohana is now considered the Konark Sun temple.

Konark Temple

Natya Mandir:

In front of the Jaganmohana is ‘The Natya Mantapa’ and every part of wall of the Natya Mantapa have carvings in erotic style. The Natya Mandir was constructed in such a way that the first rays of the sun pass through the pillars of Natya Mandir and fall on the idol in the Main Sanctum.

Konark Temple Odisha puri
Natya Mantapa

The pillars of the Natya Mantapa is carved with sculptures of artists, musicians and women dancing, dressing up, singing and playing various musical instruments.

Konark Temple Odisha
Natya Mantapa

SunDial or Time Wheel:

We all know that Time is under the control of Sun God and this temple symbolizes the passage of timeThe Sun temple is a giant Sun God’s chariot pulled by 7 horses towards the east and those 7 horses represent 7 days of the week while the wheels of the temple are sundials used to calculate time accurately. There are 12 pairs of wheels/Sundials at the base of Sun Temple which tells accurate time of the day. The twelve pairs of the wheel represents the twelve months of the year. There are 24 wheels around the chariot like temple which signifies 24 hours of the day. The sundial has 8 major spokes that divide 24 hours into 8 equal parts. The time between two major spokes is 3 hours.There are 30 beads between a minor and a major spoke. The spokes of the wheel creates a sun dial and it has been designed in a way you can calculate the precise time by looking at the shadow cast by these spokes. Isn’t it just so much interesting? 

Konark temple Odisha
The Stone Wheel/ Sundial

The Presiding Diety Sun God:

There are 3 figures of Lord Surya carved on the walls of the main temple/sanctum on the northern, western and southern side of the temple except the Eastern side. These three statues of Sun God are a description of the Sun during dawn, noon and sunset. You can see statue of Sun God in the pic below.

DSC_0115 (2)
The Sun God Carved in the wall

The Sculptures:

There is an abundance of world class sculptures on the walls of temple (see the pic below). Every inch of the walls is carved with figures of women, men, children, lovers, dancers, musicians and variety of animals as well as military processions, hunting scenes.

Konark temple
Sculptures on the wall

Power of Magnets

The temple once had huge magnets placed in such a way that the idol of the Sun God would float in the air because of the magnetic effect. The idol is now placed in the Jagannath Temple in Puri. 

Sun Temple odisha


Important Bits

  • Location of Temple: Konark, Puri District of Odisha, India.
  • Timings: The Konark Sun temple is open from 8 AM to 6 PM daily. There is an entrance fee of Rs.10/- for Indians and Rs.250/- for foreign citizens.
  • Famous for: Heritage/Architecture
  • Camera: Photography is permitted and there are no charges for that.

How to Reach: Distance of Konark Temple from Puri is 35 kms and from Bhubaneswar is 65 kms. You can reach Konark by Air, train or by road.

  1. By Air:The nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar which is 65 km away from Konark and operates direct flights from major metro cities. 
  2. By Train: The nearest railway stations to Konark are located in Puri and Bhubaneswar and are linked with almost all the major cities.
  3. By Road: Konark is well connected to Puri and Bhubaneswar by roads.

Xo, Neha

About Author

I am Neha, a Travel, Fashion and a Lifestyle Blogger based out of Bengaluru, India. I am a Fashionable soul, a compulsive Traveler, a foodie and a Cat Lover.

(50) Comments

  1. All of these pictures are amazing! History is amazing! So many beautiful sculptures! I also really love your outfit!!:)

    Xoxo
    Serein
    https://sereinwu.com/

  2. Waow Neha! That’s a beautiful spot… I’ve never heard about it before!
    By the way, I like your blog and as you know I love India 🙂 I’d love to collaborate with you for some articles… Would you like to?

  3. Wow – so beautiful! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  4. Beautiful place and pics!
    Beijos
    BlogCarolNM
    FanPage

  5. Your pictures show you had a great time and we love how beautiful everything looks! It makes us want to go there on our next vacation, thanks for sharing!

  6. What an amazing place!
    Obsessed Fashion Blog

  7. Beautiful photos. Looks like a wonderful place

  8. what a beautiful place..would love to visit it very soon 😀

  9. Loved the pictures…this is in my travel wishlist 🙂

  10. Prudence says:

    The architecture of the temple looks so amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  11. Lovely pictures! I always love to visit temples in India! It’s so spiritual and beautiful.

    xx,

    Aurelie | http://www.surface85.com

  12. Wow, what a beautiful place to visit !You learned so much about it too! Thank you for sharing, it was so interesting to read 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  13. The detail is just amazing. I can’t believe people used to do that back then. It’s astonishing.

    Heba xx || The Heba

  14. Shanaya Mehra says:

    HI, NEHA…
    This is a very beautiful post. Your new post is awaited.
    love Shanaya

  15. Wow, so breathtaking! Thank you for sharing your travels with us!

    P.S. Following you on Bloglovin!

    Chelsea
    Chow Down USA
    Bloglovin

  16. Great historical place for sure. Thanks for the education, beautiful. 🙂

    http://missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

  17. Shailendra Kumar says:

    Have given all historical facts of Sun Temple.Nice presentation of Sun Temple. Great .Krep doing the same.

  18. Beautiful pictures! Been there love it!
    Thestyletune.com

  19. Very nice and informative post! Seems like you have a great time in Puri :)The temple looks magnificent, nice photos, dear! xx

  20. WOW amazing place! Bonjour from France, Sand.

  21. Shannon says:

    Wow so gorgeous and What an amazing experience! So much history!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  22. Loved reading your blog on Konark.Makes me feel like going there once again.

  23. wow this is so cool! I want to go there
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  24. This place looks amazing. Such great photography. Thanks so much for sharing.

    xoxo
    Mercedes Marie

  25. Nice to bump you into! Odisha is definitely on mind. And your post is sure to help 🙂

  26. Darcy says:

    Wow this is so amazing! It looks beautiful and love all the history with it!

  27. This place is definitely touristy.
    I would love to come and see it myself.

  28. Looks great!

  29. wow!! that looks amazing!thanks for sharing.

    Have a great day!

  30. Filipa Jackson says:

    Wow how amazing is this. Looks like a fabulous time Filipa

  31. Such beautiful carvings! So cool to be surrounding by history like that.

    xx Yasmin

  32. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing! Have a great week.
    Much love, Len

  33. This place looks amazing!

  34. Wow, all of the architecture is amazing <3

    Good karma,

  35. Love Konark Temple!! Amazing place!!
    Hugs,

  36. Wow! What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing all of the details about it – it sounds and looks amazing! Beautiful pictures! 🙂
    ~ Nicole

  37. What a stunning place! I’m in awe of the details! Fantastic photos and well written with so much background. Amazing!

  38. What an incredible place to visit! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

    Rachel

  39. Just perfect, love it!!
    Thanks for the support and thoughtful words on my recent post, I deeply appreciate it!!

  40. Those photographs are so beautiful! I love them!

    Connie

  41. Alice says:

    Wow it must’ve been amazing to have such a close up with history! Great photos, thanks for sharing!

    xo, Alice

  42. What an amazing place! Thanks for sharing these awesome pics!
    Ashley

  43. Soumya Midhun says:

    Gosh you look so beautiful Neha. Shiny hair, glowing skin. And what a detailed post there!!

  44. Looks like an interesting & beautiful experience

  45. amazing photos and history!
    xo, jill

  46. Wow this is a great post I learned a lot.
    Great pictures.

  47. I’m speechless the amount of effort these people put into making this amazing temple. Great photos and ive learn a lot. I have a massive temple in my area too not sure if they alow me to take photos but I would love to make a post about it as its beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us darling. Visit me

  48. Mansi says:

    You always put up a detailed research post about the place..i so love reading them and makes me crave to visit them also..great work and keep up to it..:)

  49. Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I hope you’re having a great start to your week so far, beauty!

    XO,

    Jalisa

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