Konark Sun Temple in Orissa Black Pagoda

Konark Sun Temple, also known as Black Pagoda or Konark Surya Mandir, is one of the most famous Hindu temples in India situated about 35 km from Puri and about 65 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Dedicated to the Sun God, Lord Surya, Konark Sun Temple is a symbol of Orissa’s eminent architectural craftsmanship and is now protected under UNESCO's World Heritage Site project

Konark Temple chariot stands majestically on the Bay of Bengal and is an ideal destination for the tourists from all over the world. The word Konarka is derived from the two words, “Kona” meaning “corner” and “Arka” meaning “the Sun”. Bhubaneshwar, Konark and Puri represent the Golden triangle of Orissa, visited by large numbers of pilgrims and tourists. Konark Sun Temple is also elected as one of the Seven Wonders of India (according to the poll collected by NDTV).  Another famous temple dedicated to Lord Surya in India is the Suryanar Kovil in Tamilnadu (also known as Navagraha Surya Sthalam).

Konark Sun Temple Architecture

Konark Temple was built in the 13th century by Raja Narasingh Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty. One of the sublime monuments of India, the Sun Temple belongs to the Kalinga School of Indian Temples with typical curved towers mounted by Cupola. Konark temple was built in the form of huge chariot of the Sun God with 24 wheels, that is, 12 wheels in both sides, and 7 horses in front of the temple. The wheels represent the 12 months of a year and the horses, seven days of the week. Konarka Sun Temple comprises of a Vimana (main temple) for housing the deity, Jagamohana (Porch) from where the worshippers could have a glance of the deity and a Naata Mandir (Hall of Dance). The entrance on the eastern side is the main gateway to the temple compound and is decorated with Gajasimha (lion upon an elephant) images, with outward faces, installed on two high stone-benches.

Konark Sun Temple in Orissa Black Pagoda
Viman (The Main Temple)

Though the main temple has been completely distorted, only three Parsva Devatas (side gods) are visible on the walls of the broken temple. The three deities fixed on the three sides of the Vimana (main temple) walls are the images of Lord Surya, made of chlorite stone in different poses.

The image of the south represents Prabhat-Surya (morning sun) and therefore expresses youth and activity. The figures in the western side indicate Midhyanna-Surya (midday-sun), standing with full energy and personality. On the northern wall is the third figure called as Astachala-Surya (setting-sun). A flight of steps from the top of the broken walls on the north-western corner descend down to the floor of the sanctum where a throne of black chlorite is seen. An idol of Surya Narayan, the presiding deity of the Konark Sun Temple, had been installed on this throne.

Jagamohana (Porch)

The Jagamohana (Porch) or the Mukhasala is the audience hall of the Sun Temple which stands on the same platform as the Vimana (main temple). The porch of Konark is regarded as the highest of all the other Temples in Orissa.

Naata Mandir (The Hall Of Dance)

Locally called as Bhoga Mandap, this hall is in front of the porch on a separate plinth. Notable feature is the sculptures found here which is considered as the best specimen of Orissan Sculptures.

Other Temple Deities

Placed over the front door of Jagamohan is a huge Navagraha slab which is at a height of 18 feet.

Konark Sun Temple Festivals

Chandrabhaga Mela

Also known as Magha Saptami, this is the most popular festival held on the seventh day (saptami) of the bright half of the month of Magha (mid January – mid February). Numerous devotees throng here every year to celebrate the new birth of Sun God. They take a holy bath in the Chandrabhaga River before sunrise and proceed to the temple to worship the Sun God. Chandrabhaga Mela is the second biggest festival in Orissa, next to the Puri Car Festival.

Konark Dance Festival

A festival of classical dance, the Konark Dance Festival, is another fascinating event. Held from 1st to 5th December every year, the festival has assumed great significance on account of protecting the unique temple dance tradition of Orissa. The festival is held in an open-air theatre built near the Sun Temple and brings together various dance forms such as Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chhow.

How to reach Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

By Air

Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport (around 64 km) to reach the Sun Temple at Konark. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Alliance Air (Air India Regional), and Kingfisher Airlines operates flights from Delhi, Calcutta, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai and Mumbai.

Visakhapatnam Airport and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport are the other nearest airports.

By Rail

Puri Railway Station (33 km) and Bhubaneswar Railway Station (65 km) are the nearest major railway stations to reach Konark.

By Road

Konark is well connected by road with other major cities and towns in Orissa. Regular bus services are available from Bhubaneswar, Puri and Cuttack.

Tourist Places in Konark, Orissa

Though famous for the Sun Temple, Konark is also a place with great historical and religious importance. Among the major tourist attractions in Konark are Konark Sea Beach, Konark Museum managed by the archaeological survey of India, Ramchandi Beach, Goddess Ramachandi Temple, Balighai Beach, Kuruma village with ancient Buddhist antiquities, Astaranga coastal village, and Kakatpur village. Click here for a detailed article on the major tourist places to visit in Konark.


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