State : Orrisa
Konark Sun Temple is located , in the state of Orissa near the sacred
city of Puri. The sun
Temple of Konark is dedicated to the sun God or Surya. It is a masterpiece
of Orissa's medieval architecture. Sun temple has been declared
a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural
grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural
work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the
sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a
set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple.
Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of
steps lead to the main entrance.
The Nata Mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately
carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof,
are carvings in the erotic style. There are images of animals,
foliage, men, warriors on horses and other interesting patterns.
There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the
rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset.
Architecture of the Temple
The massive structure of the temple, now in ruins, sits in solitary
splendor surrounded by the drifting sands. The entire temple has
been designed in the shape of a chariot carrying the Sun God across
the heavens. The huge intricate wheels of the chariot, which are
carved around the base of the temple, are the major attractions
of the temple. The spokes of these wheels serve as sundials, and
the shadows formed by these can give the precise time of the day.
The pyramidal roof of the temple, made of sandstone, soars over
30 m in height. Like the temples at Khajuraho, the Sun Temple at
Konark is also covered with erotic sculptures.
The Temple Chariot of the Sun God
Standing imperiously in its compound of lawns and casuarina trees,
35km north of Puri on the coast road, this majestic pile of oxidizing
sandstone is considered to be the apogee of Orissan architecture
and one of the finest religious buildings anywhere in the world.
The temple is all the more remarkable for having languished under
mound of sand since it fell into neglect three hundred or so years
ago. A team of seven galloping horses and twenty-four exquisitely
carved wheels found lining the flanks of a raised platform showed
that the temple had been conceived in the form of a colossal chariot
for the sun god Surya, its presiding deity.
Lady drummer of Sun Temple
The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with thousands of
images including deities, the Surasundaris, heavenly damsels,
and human musicians, lovers, dancers, and different scenes from
Maituna - Sun Temple
Equally as sensational was the re-discovery among the ruins of
some extraordinary erotic sculpture. Konark is plastered with
loving couples locked in ingenious amatory postures drawn from
the Kama Sutra - a feature that may well explain the comment made
by one of great poet of Mughal Dynasty,Abdul Fazl, in the sixteenth
century: "Even those who are difficult to please," he
enthused, "stand astonished at its sight."
A stone's throw away from Konark beach lies the sacred pond where
Samba was cured of leprosy - the miracle that allegedly inspired
the founding of the sun temple. For a couple of days every year
during the full or "white" moon phase of Magha (Jan/Feb),
chandrabhaga is also the site of a big religious festival, the
Magha Saptami Mela.
How to Reach
There is no direct connection from Konark by air. Nearest
air heads are Bhubaneswar and Puri.
The nearest railheads are Puri and Bhubaneswar. These
two stations are connected to all the major cities in India through
Orissa State Road Transport Corporation and private
buses provide links with all parts of the state. Deluxe coach services
from Calcutta, Bijapur, and Vishakhapatnam are available.