Konark Sun Temple, also known as Black Pagoda was built in the 13th century in Orissa. The Eastern Dynasty King, King Narasimhadeva I constructed it using sandstone. The temple is a perfect example of Orissan architecture from the Ganga Dynasty. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site and also voted as one of the seven wonders of India. According to an old legend, the temple was built by Lord Krishna’s son, Samba when he was suffering from Leprosy due to a curse by his father. He was ill for 12 years and thereafter the sun god, Surya cured him. Samba built the splendid Konark Sun Temple to honor him.
How to Reach
By Rail – Konark Railway station is well-connected to all major cities of India.
By Air – The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar and it is well-connected to all major airports. One can hire a private taxi or take Volvo buses from Bhubaneshwar.
By Road – Konark is well-connected to all major cities through state and national highways.
In the summers it gets very hot and all tourists avoid this season. In the winters, it gets very cold and the temperature goes to as low as 12 °C. Konark receives medium rainfall during the monsoons. The best time to visit the city of Konark is from September to March.
Architecture of Konark temple Sun Temple
The temple is in the form of a chariot of the Sun God, Surya, which is drawn by seven horses on twelve pairs of wheels which are beautifully decorated. The temple has stone carvings all over it. The wheels of the chariot are a major attraction, since they serve as sundials. There are many erotic sculptures in this temple which remind one of Khajuraho. The famous Orissan architecture can be seen all over the temple.
The entrance of the temple has two huge lions which are shown as crushing a war elephant each. There is a Nata Temple at the entrance of the temple. It is believed that dancers used to dance here to please the sun god. There are lots of geometric and floral patterns all around the temple. Some sculptures of the temple are kept in the Sun Temple Museum. This museum is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. This beautiful temple is worth a visit.
The fall of the Konark temple is often linked to the Kalapahad, who was the general of Bengal Sultan Sulaiman Khan Karrani. Some legends state that Kalapahad was originally a Hindu Kayastha but had converted to Islam. He attacked Orissa in 1568 and demolished the Konark Temple, along with other Hindu Temples. After this Orissa was under the Muslim rule and Hindu Temples continued to be destroyed. The Priests of Konark buried the deity of the Sun Temple under sand for many years to save it. This image was moved to Puri later on and placed in the Indra Temple in the Jagannath Puri Temple Complex.
Since the image of the sun god was not present in the temple, people stopped worshipping there and the number of devotees who visited there, also reduced considerably. The city was deserted.
A Maratha Sadhu took away the Aruna Pillar in 1779 and placed it in the Jagannath Temple at Puri. The entire glory of Konark was lost and it became a shady city, where people feared to go.