Hi Mate, Hope you are doing safe and sound, me too! If you are planning to visit Konark Sun Temple, which is one of the most magnificent Sun Temple in India. This blog is dedicated to our history lovers, and after reading this, they’ll love it for sure. The town Konark in the state of Odisha is famous for its stone sculptured Sun temple.
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Introduction To Konark Temple
The Konark Sun Temple is about 35 km northeast of Puri, Odisha, which was built in 13th-century CE (the year 1250) by king Narasingha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. Once over 200 feet high temple dedicated to God Sun is now in ruins. The remains of the temple complex include a 100-foot high chariot with enormous stone carving.
In 1984 the temple was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Also, it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who assemble at the temple every year around February for the Chandrabhaga Mela. Amazingly, it is portrayed on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of 10 rupees to signify its cultural heritage importance.
The different parts of the temple consist of Shikhara (crown), Jagmohana (audience hall), Natmandir (dance hall), and Vimana (tower). The main temple at Konark, Shikhara which is no longer existed. Among the structures that have survived to the current day are the Jagmohana and Nata Mandira.
The Jagmohan was built in the form of a giant chariot devoted to the god Sun with horses and wheels. The architecture is highly symbolic, the chariot drawn by seven horses which represent the 7 days of the week, while others say that 7 horses represent the 7 components of white light that we know as the VIBGYOR. Similarly, the chariot’s twelve pairs of wheels represent the twelve months of the Hindu calendar.
According to several legends and locals, it was believed that the statue of the God Sun inside the main temple was built of material with iron content and was said to be floating in the air, without any physical support due to the unique arrangements of the top and the bottom magnet and the reinforced magnets around the temple walls. Also, it is believed that the architecture of the Konark Surya Mandir is so accurate that the day’s first light fell on the idol of Surya.
Depth of Information Through Crafting
One can also witness the gorgeous and magnificent carved reliefs of musicians, dancers, animals, gods, goddesses, and many erotic figures on the walls of the temple. The exquisite detail of the temple can only be viewed when standing right in front of it. The walls also have carvings of the daily life of the human cycle. Every craft teaches something to different stages of human.
As I mentioned earlier, there are 24 wheels fixed to the temple and they are having 8 spokes. The 24 wheels represent 24 hours of a day and the 8 spokes signify prayers (three hour period) of a day. The wheels act as a sundial which provides information about time. If you put your finger at the center of the axel, you will be surprised to see that the finger’s shadow shows the accurate time of the day. The wheel has 8 wider spokes and 8 thinner spokes, which looks more attractive like a 3D image, and the distance between two wider spokes is of 3 hours or 180 minutes. The thinner spoke between two wider spokes is of 1.5 hours (90 minutes). The Sundial shows time in anti-clockwise and the top center wider spoke represents midnight, contains with 30 beads between one wider spoke to the next thinner spoke and each bead represents 3 minutes, isn’t amazing!!
And the sculptures on the spokes depict the daily life routine of human life. For instance, early morning sculptures show a woman doing yoga. Similarly, different sculptures depict various routine work.
Erotica at Konark Sun Temple
I was surprised to see the erotica on the walls of Konark Sun Temple which generates curiosity and even puzzles the mind of every visitor. The ethereal beauty of these sculptures is not only sensuous but also artistically vibrant.
Some of the sculptures were easy to understand, while others took quite some time to interpret; a few were too stunning to be believed. Some of these are quite controversial and few Images show homosexual and lesbian love.
Controversy on Konark Temple Destruction
Many of its complexes have been destroyed over the years. The cause of the destruction of the Konark temple is unclear and remains a source of controversy. Theories range from the Kalapahad invasion to natural damage.
As per Mughal era records, it was believed that Muslim invader Kalapahad attacked and tried to destroy Jagannath Puri and the Konark temple. Further, Islamic texts describe the raids of Kalapahad and his army failed to destroy the temple in the first attempt in 1565. They inflicted only minor damage and run off with the copper Kalash.
The natural-damage theory is supported by the nearness of the temple to the monsoons in the region and the shore that would tend to cause damage.
The temple that exists today was partially restored by the conservation efforts of British India-era archaeological teams and now the temple is sealed and filled with sand to prevent the collapse of the Jagamohana. One can witness the beauty of the temple from the outside. Just wondering how beautiful it would be from inside.
Best Time To Visit
Konark is a coastal town which means that the best time to visit it is during the winters i.e. between September to March; since the weather is much pleasant and remains neutral during that time. However, during the summer it can be avoided as the town can be warm and humid. And if you want to spend more time noticing the intricacies of the carvings on the chariot, standing out in the sun all day long can be pretty exhausting. Pleasant weather will ensure that you don’t exhaust yourself by simply walking.
As for the timings, the Konark Sun Temple is open from 6 AM to 10 PM. There is a ticket counter at the entrance of the temple where the ticket charges are different for Indian citizens and foreign citizens. Since it’s a temple dedicated to Surya, the best time to visit is in the morning itself. That’s when you see the temple in its glory as it was intended to be.
How To Reach & Where to stay
The best way to reach is to fly into the capital city Bhubaneshwar and then take a cab or bus and come to Konark. Bhubaneshwar is well connected by flights from all major Indian cities. Or one can take a cab or bus from Bhubaneshwar railway station.
There are various options to stay at Konark, and accommodation is available for tourists of all budgets. We had a plan of visiting Puri the next day, so we left for Puri on the same day evening.
I hope this blog will give you some refreshment about Puri based Konark Temple. the above ideas will help you to visit Konark Temple on holidays. This place has equipped with astonished background will make you feel amaze at every point during the visit. If you know some other interesting facts about Konark Temple then I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.