Konark Sun Temple – Puri – Odisha

On the north-eastern side of the humble city of Puri, is Konark Sun Temple, a man-made architectural marvel.

It is along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The distance from the capital Bhubaneshwar is about 60 km.

It is an ancient Sun temple built in the 13th century. It has been known as the Black Pagoda as well since it is made of black granite.

Konark Sun Temple - main
Main temple

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Why is Konark Sun Temple famous?

The Konark temple is famous for its unique architecture. There are unique patterns in the geometrical and wheel shapes.

The Sun temple konark is made of granite which black in colour. It has been called the black pagoda.

Used by the sailors in the yesteryears for navigation, as it was visible from far off.

The Sun temple konark has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site.

About Konark Sun Temple :

The temple has been built in the shape of a giant chariot. This is believed to represent the chariot of the sun god.

The structure depicts the chariot being pulled by seven horses. There are four horses on the left and three horses on the right.

Three deities have been made as statues on three sides of the temple to catch the rays of the sun in the morning, afternoon, and in evening.

Sun temple konark is a prime tourist location. There is an archaeological museum in the complex as well.

In the month of February each year, the temple holds a Konark Dance festival.

Many tourists from abroad visit the temple as well. It is believed to be the oldest and one of the last structures made before the 15th century that are still standing.

Konark sun temple magnet

The sun rays infiltrate the Nata Mandir and are reflected through a diamond which is built in an idol.

The idol seemed to be floating mid-air. This occurred due to the special arrangements of magnets on the top of the temple.

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They were later removed due to the disturbances caused by the coastal voyages. Though it has had a toll of time of more than 2 thousand years, it still stands tall.

The marvelous engineering and architectural monument will make the visitor awe-struck.

Best time to visit Konark Temple

You can visit the Konark Temple from September to march.

In the other months due to summers, there is a lot of humidity.

If you have a pre-planned trip you must visit the temple in the month of February as the Konark Dance Festival is held this month. You can witness the folk dance.

How can you reach Konark

The temple is well connected by the means of roads, rail or air. The closest city is Puri at a distance of 35 km.

By road: you can reach the temple from Puri in around half an hour by cab or state transport buses, they ply regularly.

By rail: the nearest railway station is Puri. From the station, the distance to the temple is merely 15 km. You can come to Puri station from almost all parts of the country. From here you can hire a taxi or bus to go to the temple.

By air: the nearest airport that one can fly to is Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar. The distance is 64 km to the temple. It can be covered in 1 hour by cab or bus.

Brief History of Konark Sun Temple

The construction of this magnificent temple was ordered by Narsimha deva 1, one of the rulers from the eastern Ganga dynasty.

It was built to commemorate his victory over Tughral Tughan Khan in the 1255 CE. It is believed that there were magnets on top of the temple which used to interfere with the magnetic compasses of the sailors.

This used to lead to shipwrecks. The wheels built in the temple are actually sundials that tell time accurately to date.

The temple was commonly known as the black pagoda due to its colour. The temple we see today is just the entrance of the original temple, the rest is believed to have fallen with time.

There had been the destruction of the temple at the time of invasion by the Muslim invader Kala Pahad in the year 1568.

The architecture of the sun temple

The basic design of the temple is in the traditional Kalinga style. The temple is in the shape of a large chariot of the sun god.

There are 12 beautifully engraved pillars and 7 horses. The temple is east slanted so that the first rays of the morning sun shines right upon the main entrance. On the entrance, there are two huge lion structures that seem to be crushing a man and an elephant.

 simha-gaja - konark sun temple
 simha-gaja statue at entrance

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Monsters, animals, beasts, and warriors have been carved out on the walls. There is a similarity of the structures and carvings with those of the Khajuraho temple.

The main sanctum was 70 meters tall, but it fell in the year 1837 due to the weak soil. There is a surviving structure of a 30-meter-high hall.

The temple was originally right on the seashore but there is a considerable distance from the sea now as the sea has changed course.

There are a few more temples in the complex. They are believed to be the Navagraha temple, one of Lord Vishnu and another for the wife of Sun God.

Legend Behind Konark Sun temple

Why Sun God is not worshipped in the Konark temple?

There is a legend according to which when the temple was about to be completed the ruler had ordered a deadline to finish it. Failing which all the 1200 workers would have been beheaded.

The whole structure was ready but there was difficulty in installing the main idol due to the placement of magnets.

Dhramapada the son of the ruler came forward and solved the problem. But the ruler would kill the workers now as well if he came to know that the small boy was able to solve the problem while all the artisans were struggling for a solution.

So, he killed himself to save the lives of all the 1200 workers. But this death made the whole temple impure.

As a result, no worship is done. A myth also says that the young boy was an avatar of Lord Sun to destroy the big ego of the King which he had grown for the construction of this temple.


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