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Sun Temple Konark Orissaspritual

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Fast Facts
Location : Konark, Orrisa. 35 kms away from Puri, 65 kms from Bhubaneswar.
Built By : King Narasimhadeva
Built In : 13th Century A.D.
Dedicated To : Sun God, Surya.

Overview
Sun Temple - Konark Set marvelously on the beautiful coast of the Bay of Bengal, the Sun Temple, Konark is a testimony of a gracious and mysterious past. Konark's serene atmosphere coupled with a quiet sea-shore is regarded as a perfect place for holidaying for domestic as well as foreign tourists. Konark forms one of three points of "Golden Triangle of Orissa", the other two being Puri and Bhubaneshwar.

With pristine natural surroundings, casuarina plantations, several types of trees and an unspoiled environment, the Sun Temple provides you a heaven like feel. Dedicated to Sun God - Surya, this temple was constructed in the 13th century by King Narasingh Deva - I of the famous Ganga Dynasty. A masterpiece of Orrisan temple architecture, the Sun Temple was conceived as a massive chariot of Sun God, with 12 pairs of beautifully ornamented wheels pulled by seven pairs of horses.

Moreover, Konark is not just a symbol of Orissa's great architectural craftsmanship, but it is also the most sought after destination for tourist across the world. Today, the Sun Temple has lost its main sanctuary but remaining structure and ruins are enough to hold your attention.

Temple Legend
From ancient time, Sun God is regarded as the supreme lord of the Universe and the principle object of life giving energy. In addition to these, the Sun god is also believed as the healer of diseases and bestower of desires. Legend has it that Lord Krishna's son Samba was suffering from leprosy, so he underwent severe penance for 12 years at Miravana near the confluence of Chandrabhaga river. Eventually Samba succeeded in pleasing God Surya, the healer of all skin ailments and was cured of leprosy. In gratitude, Samba decided to built a temple to honour the Sun god, Surya. Very next day after his cure, while Samba was bathing in the Chandrabhaga river he found an image of the Sun God. Later Samba installed this image in the temple which he erected in Mitravana. Since then this place has been regarded as a sacred place and attracts large number of pilgrims from all corners of the world.

Architecture of the Temple
Sun Temple - ArchitectureOne of the most sublime monuments in India, the Sun Temple is known for its wonderful dimensions, faultless proportions and also for the perfect integration of architectural grandeur with plastic allegiance. Besides, fine traceries and scroll work, the fantastic natural cut of animal and human figures add more to the beauty of the temple.

Architecturally the Sun Temple belongs to the Kalinga School of Indian Temple having peculiar towers capped by Cupolas. A fine specimen of Kalinga architecture, the Sun temple depicts the grace, joy and the rhythm of life in its fascinating variety. You will find an endless wealth of decoration right from delicate patterns in bas-relief to exquisitely modelled free standing huge sculptures.

On the whole, the architecture of the temple doesn't differ much from the other sikhara temples of Orissa. The Sun temple stands in a huge compound measuring 857 ft. x 540 ft and the alignment of the temple is on the east-west direction. The main sanctum of the temple is 229 ft. high and the audience hall is 128 ft. high and it has elaborate projections outside.

Now the main sanctum which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off but the audience hall survives entirely. Apart from these, the temple has other two halls namely - the Dancing Hall (Nata Mandir) and the Dinning Hall (Bhoga- Mandap), only small portions of these building have survived over the time.

Temple Festivals
Konark Dance Festival : Konark Dance Festival, mainly a festival of classical dance is organized every year between 1st and 5th December. One of the most exciting dance festivals of the country, Konark Dance Festival is known for preserving and continuing unique temple dance tradition of Orissa. Konark Dance Festival provides a glimpse of India's composite culture and offers a lavish feast for the eyes and ears of the audience. During this festival, the eminent classical dancers of the country present live performance on the Open Air Auditorium against the picturesque back drop of Sun Temple. Popular dance forms which you can see during the festival include Odissi, Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Manipuri and Chhow Dance.

Other Attractions
Museum : Just outside the temple complex, there is a small museum on the main road. This museum houses many sculptures and carvings found during the temple excavation. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed on Fridays.

Beach : If you want to experience some tranquil moments then you must visit the nice quiet beach which is about 3 kms from the temple. You can reach the beach on foot or by hiring a cycle rickshaw. The sea currents are strong here so swimming may be dangerous.

Konark BeachChandrabhaga Mela : Chandrabhaga Mela is the most popular and colourful festival of Konark and second biggest festival of Orissa, next only to Car Festival of Puri. Every year in the month of February, lakhs of pilgrims visit Konark to celebrate the Chandrabhaga Mela or Magha Saptami. Close to the beach is a pond where Krishna's son Samba is believed to have been cured from Leprosy. During Chandrabhaga Mela people bathe in this pond at night and then watch the sun rise over the sea the next morning.

How to Reach
By Air : Nearest airport is located in Bhubaneswar at a distance of 64 km from Konark. Indian Airlines operates flights for Bhubaneswar from Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur and Vishakhapatnam.

By Rail : Bhubaneswar railway station (65 kms) is the nearest major railhead from Konark. From Bhubaneswar, regular buses are available, with a change of buses at Pipli. The road journey will take around two to three hours.

By Bus : Good roads connect Konark with Bhubaneswar and Puri (35 kms). Buses are available at regular interval from Puri to Konark. There is a direct tourist bus that leaves daily from Bhubaneswar bus stand at 10 a.m. A daily tour bus also goes to Konark from Puri. Besides, you can also hire a taxi from Puri for about Rs. 400 round-trip.

Local Transport : Auto-rickshaws, Cycle-rickshaws are available as local mode of transport in Konark.

Places Where You Can Stay
Plenty of accommodation options are available in Konark. You can stay at the Tourist Bungalow which is very close to the main entrance of the temple. Close to the Tourist Bungalow are several other hotels and lodges that provide good accommodation facility at cheap rate.

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