Konark | India
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Konark or Konarak (Odia: 6କଣାର୍କ)(Sanskrit: कोनार्क) is a small town in Puri district of the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometres from Bhubaneswar, famous for its 13th-century Sun Temple and the Chandrabhaga River.

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Partial view of Konark Sun Temple Konark is also known as Konaditya. The name 'Konark' is derived from the words Kona - Corner and Arka - Corners of Sun; it is situated on the north-east of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. The Sun Temple of Konark, often called as the Black Pagoda, was constructed in the mid thirteenth century by Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty is an ample testament to the artistic glory of the time. It is often considered the best among other temples of its kind and that is saying something when you are talking about the golden triangle of Odisha which boasts of Sri Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj Temple of Puri and Bhubaneswar. Legend of Konark Temple Legend has it that Samba, the king of Krishna and Jambavati entered the bathing chamber of Krishna's wives, and was cursed by Krishna with leprosy. It was decreed that he would be relieved of the curse by worshipping the Sun God on the sea coast north-east of Puri. It is said that the temple was not completed as conceived because the foundation was not strong enough to bear the weight of the heavy dome. As stated in the various stories regarding the temple as well as its construction, the temple possess a huge aura of power. It is believed that this enormous power comes from the two powerful magnets. It is stated that these magnets are used in the construction of the tower. The magnet made the throne of king to hover in the middle of the air. Due to its magnetic effects, vessels passing through the Konark sea were drawn to it, resulting in heavy damage. Other legends state that magnetic effects of the lodestone disturbed ships' compasses so that they did not function correctly. To save their shipping, the Portuguese voyagers took away the lodestone, which was acting as the central stone and keeping all the stones, and the iron columns used to hold them walls together, of the temple wall in balance. Due to its displacement, the temple walls lost their balance and eventually fell down. But there is no record of this occurrence in any historical records, nor is there any record of the existence of such a powerful lodestone at Konark. Architecture of Konark Temple The Sun Temple is the culmination of Odishan temple architecture and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. The massive structure, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendour surrounded by drifting sand. Today it is located two kilometers from the sea, but originally the ocean came almost up to its base. Until fairly recent times, in fact, the temple was close enough to the shore to be used as a navigational point by European sailors, who referred to it as the 'Black Pagoda'. The Konark Sun Temple belongs to the Central Indian style of Temple architecture, though it does not have tall shikharas of the later temples of Odisha and Central India.

Konark

Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By air 1.2 By train 1.3 By road Konark is one of the most prominent cities of Odisha. It is very famous tourist destination, especially for those who are traveling from eastern or southern part of India. The convenient way to get to Konark is drive either from Puri (33 km) or Bhubaneswar (65 km). The best time to visit Konark is from October to March. By air The adjacent airport is at Bhubaneswar, which is about 64 km away. It is linked with Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, and Nagpur and operates several direct flights. By train The railway stations nearest to Konark are located in the twin cities of Puri and Bhubaneswar. These stations are linked with almost all the major destinations in India by train. By road The National and State Highways link Konark with Puri and Bhubaneswar forming a virtual triangle popularly known as Golden Triangle of East. To reach Konark from Bhubaneswar, after traveling 20km take a left turn once you reach Pipli village. The road straight ahead leads to Puri. Hiring a taxi is the best way of travel between Puri and Konark. There are good number of transport buses as well as private coaches plying from both the cities. State buses are also available to Konark from Bhubaneswar's Bus Stand, Vani Vihar and Kalpana Chhak. Travel by bus is however much, much cheaper compared to renting a car. Although cramped and rather uncomfortable, these buses offer a unique experience of daily life in Odisha for less than US$1.

Konark

Top Attractions

1 See 1.1 Konark Sun Temple 1.2 Other attractions 1.3 Concerns over safety The main attraction of the place is the Konark Sun Temple decalred as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1984. The temple is situated in the Konark village to the north of Puri in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal. It has extensive stone carvings on the walls, many of them highly erotic. Though, the temple is under ruin due to heavy erosion its magnificience is still reflected in its architects. Konark Sun Temple body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .ambox{margin:0!important;border:none!important}body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .mbox-text{font-size:100%!important;padding:8px 8px 8px 32px!important;line-height:normal} The Sun Temple UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 13th century in the honor of the sun-god Surya is in ruins. The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with 24 wheels about three meters high and pulled by seven horses, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. Surya has been a popular deity in India since the Vedic period. View of the Jagamohan and the ruined shikhara of the Surya Temple The Temple compound measures 857 ft (261 m) by 540 ft (160 m) The alignment of the Sun Temple is on the east-west direction. The entire temple was planned in such a way that it is fitted with twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated stone wheels. The horses were conceived in such a way that the Sun God (Surya) himself drives this chariot, his place being inside the garbhagriha. The major entrance in the temple is place on the east side and it faces the sea. This entrance is located in the façade of bhogamandapa which is also known as the Hall of Offerings. The sculptures of dancers as well as musicians is engraved on the walls of this hall, hence the hall was later used for the traditional dance recital. On the western side of the temple lies the sanctuary tower which are now nothing but just a clutter of various sandstone slabs which are kept one over another. This impressive construction is believed to have a pyramidical roof commonly known as jaganmohan. The roof of jagamohana has a roof that has around 3 tiers and many statutes are placed over them. The statutes are either of dancers or the musicians. The platform at the base also has a sculpture of Lord Shiva as Nataraja and performing the dance. The interior of the terrace is now-a-days barren up. The stairs that takes you up towards the Statute of Surya is located beyond the terrace. The statute of the Sun god is carved out a huge green colored chlorite stone. It is supposed to be the most beautiful work of art present in Konark. However, the entrance door to the Jaganmohan is closed due to rapid fall of debris and stones from the ceiling. The Konarak temple also marks the culmination of the temple building architecture in Odisha. Apart from the depiction of the stone wheels and the caparisoned horses drawing the colossal chariot of Sun God, the Konarak Temple is a typical example of the Odishan temple architecture. The temple is not different from those of other regions. The eastern gateway which is the main entrance to the temple compound, is decorated with Gajasimha (Lion upon an elephant) images, with outward faces, installed on two high stone-benches on either side of the passage. This picture is not of a sundial. It is an intricate representation of the Dharmachakra, or Wheel of Sun, Konark The wheels of the chariot are also symbolic and have been interpreted as the 'Wheel of Life'. They portray the cycle of creation, preservation and achievement of realisation. The diameter of each of the wheels is about nine(2.73 metres) feet and each of them has a set eight equal parts. They are elaborately carved all over. The thicker ones are all carved with circular medallions at their centres on the widest part of the face. The axels of the wheels project by about one foot from the surface, having similar decorations at their ends. The rims are carved with designs of foliages with various birds and animals, whereas the medallions in the spokes are carved with the figures of women in various luxurious poses, mostly of erotic nature. The nata mandir in front of the Jagamohana is exquisitely carved with the images of dancers, flora and foliage, men in armor, and creatively eroticism. There are three images of the Sun God (earlier four) at the top, facing each direction to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset. The figures of elephants which had originally stood on the side walls of the flights of steps at the northern and southen sides of the Jagamohana, were found amidst the confused mass of debris. The Melakkadambur Shiva temple, built in the form of a chariot during the age of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120), is the earliest of this kind, and is still in a well preserved state. [Note: Kulottunga Chola is also credited with having built the Suryanaar temple near Kumbhakonam.] There is a small museum outside the temple compound run by Archaeological Survey of India, which stores the sculpture from the temple ruins. It remains open from 9AM to 5PM of Saturday to Thursday. Friday is closed. Entry is free of cost. To the south west of the Sun temple there is the temple of Goddess Ramachandi. There are, however, difference of opinion about the presiding deity of this temple. It has been surmised by some that this was the temple of Mayadevi, wife of Surya (Sun god) while others opine that it was the earlier Sun temple in which Sun was being worshiped. It is strongly advisable to enter the temple complex at 6AM when gates open. This is when the temple is at its quietest and most beautiful, with the drama of sunrise as you explore the ruins. The hoards of domestic tourists tend to arrive around 8:30AM and stick around all day. Other attractions Though the Konark temple is the key tourist attraction in the area. However, if you wish to stay in Konark for a full-day it is advisable to spend other destination spots otherwise abandoned or see few visitation. If travelling by the OTDC or private tour operators - these destinations are either narrated by the bus operators or halted for approximately an hour during the trip. Chandrabhaga Sea Beach - 3 km east of the famous Sun temple of Konark and 30 km from Puri, Chandrabhaga is rich in its marine resources. A light house, close by Chandrabhaga is an added histronic to the splendour of the place. A climb to its top truly takes you to a world of utopia. A natural deer park is recent additions to the riches of Chandrabhaga. There is an ancient Matha believed to be the Ashram of Chandrabhaga's father and two small temples. The sight has aesthetic and importance. Kakatpur - 30 km from Konark is a small village on the Puri-Astaranga road on the bank of river Prachi. This temple is famous for Goddess Mangala. The Kakatpur Mangala temple has a close relation with Lord Jagannath temple of puri during the Navakalebara (Renovation of the Deities) festival. The most popular festival of Goddess Mangala is 'Jhamu Yatra'. It occurs on the first Tuesday of the Secred month Vaisakh (April 14 to May 15) every year. Kuruma - 8 km the south-east of the sun temple of Konark is a popular Buddhist site. The site was built between 9th - 10th centuries AD. The monastery, now abandoned, containing an excavated statue of Buddha seated cross legged with right hand in Bhumisparsa mudra while the left hand placed over his left knee. The image also wears a beautiful crown and a beautifully carved necklace. Pipili - 23 km from Konark, the small village of Pipli has a very wide and distinctive selection of handicrafts. It is a small village. On the main road at Pipili there are many shops selling Applique work products, tourist visiting Puri buy these products from Pipili. Excavated Buddhist site of Kuruma, near Konark Sun Temple Ramchandi Temple - 7 km en route to Konark on the marine road from Puri. Ramachandi is popularly believed the presiding deity of Konark. From the architectural point of view, the temple of Ramachandi is not important but from the religious point of view, it is one of the famous Sakta pithas of Puri. The beach is often crowded by local students as a romantic escapade or families picknicking on the weekend. The main temple along with its Mukhasala had been built on one platform 3'.2" (965 cm) high. On the three sides of the temple walls i.e. south, west and north there were three figures of Sun god as side Gods. Now one can see these side gods in north and southern side, where as the figure of the western side has been displaced and is said to have been preserved in the National Museum at New Delhi. This image is said to have some sculptural specialisation and is regarded to be one of the beautiful images of the Sun god. Though smaller in size, the side-gods of this temple are of similar type in all respect with the side-Gods in the Sun temple. Only we find today the side images of the northern side is somewhat in good condition while the image in the southern side has no head and the hands broken. Concerns over safety Although Archeological Survey of India (ASI) are working on the restoration of this maginificent heritage structure implemented with masterly touch illustrating diverse themes arrest the attention of the spectator yet concerns were raised by different quarters in Odisha over the deteriorating condition of the Sun temple. Legends describe a lodestone (magnet) on the top of the Sun temple. Due to its magnetic effects, vessels passing through the Konark sea were drawn to it, resulting in heavy damage. Other legends state that magnetic effects of the lodestone disturbed ships' compasses so that they did not function correctly. To save their shipping, the Portuguese voyagers took away the lodestone, which was acting as the central stone and keeping all the stones, and the iron columns used to hold them walls together, of the temple wall in balance. Due to its displacement, the temple walls lost their balance and eventually fell down. But there is no record of this occurrence in any historical records, nor is there any record of the existence of such a powerful lodestone at Konark Temple. But the Konark Surakhya Samiti (save Konark committee) said that falling down of stones from the 13th century monument had turned “into a regular feature”. Chunks of masonry have fallen off at regular intervals. On September 19, 1998 a two-tonne cornice stone on the northeastern side of the jagmohan fell off onto a ledge. The interior of the jagmohan has been sealed off ever since 1951, when conservation work on the monument was seriously taken up for the first time. The walls were shored up from the inside and the interior was filled with sand to prevent imminent collapse—such was its tenuous state. One reason why no major steps are being taken by the ASI officials is for fear it might lead to the total collapse of the crumbling temple.

Konark