Most of us read about Konark Sun temple in our school books. There are number of Sun Temple ( dedicated to Surya Bhagwan) in India but Konark Sun temple is most prominent among all and crowned with the label of UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. Konark is a small town at the eastern shore of Odisha around 35 km from Puri and 65 km from capital city Bhubneshwar and these three cities make Eastern Golden Tringle. Tourists who visit Sun temple also have option to enjoy on white sandy beach of Konark.
About the Konark Sun Temple
Konark’s Sun temple is a ancient temple that was built in 13th century in the time of Narasimhadeva-I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty and it took almost 12 years of continuous effort of 1200 artisans to complete its original structure. It was built in the shape of a big chariot of Sun God, main portion is build on approx 20 feet raised platform.
There are 24 number of ornamented Sun wheels on the temple wall which is icon of Konark Sun temple and type of sun dial . It is also said that magnetic road had been used in the main structure. As you enter the temple complex you will see two big sculpture of lion attaching on elephant. In most of Odisha temple you see these two lions at the main entrance.
Being a 800 year old structure most of the parts of temple is damaged or not in good condition and you will always find continuous restoration work of temple is going on . Even its main structure filled with big boulders and steel structure in early 20th century to prevent it from collapsing. And the sun idol from Konark moved to the Jagannath temple in Puri. Initially this temple had a main sanctum usually known as Vimana, which was around 70 meter high but due to its heavy weight it was collapsed in 1837. Odisha have faced many storm that may be main cause of damaging of Sun temple.
You can see some of fallen sculptures at the Konark Archaeological Museum located in right portion of temple complex which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Konark is another Khajuraho
Until i visit Odisha, i thought Khajuraho temples are the only exception that have erotic sculptures but when i visited Konark Sun Temple, it changed my view. Here you will see more number of such erotic sculptures, maximum of which are smaller in size and made on the Sun wheels and on other portion of walls with good detail. You will also see the same horse sculpture (symbol of desire) on temple walls that are everywhere in Khajuraho temples.
Even these figure are more in number than in that of Khajuraho. Temples of Khajuraho were build prior to Konark Sun temple so you can say it is inspired from Khajuraho.
You can also find these kind of sculpture in Lingraj Temple of Bhubneshwar and Jagannath Temple in Puri.
Ticket and Timings
The Sun temple and the museum are maintained by ASI, for getting entry in the temple complex there is entry ticket of 30/- for Indians.
The timing for visitors is from Sun rise to Sun set. And best time to visit Konark is October to March.
How to reach Konark
Being a small town of Odisha, Konark not have direct connectivity with flights or rail.
Air: Bhubneshwar is the nearest airport to Konark which is approx 65 Km away. From airport you can hire a cab to Konark.
Rail: Puri is nearest railhead and 35 km from Konark. Puri is well connected with Howrah and various other major city. From Puri you can hire Taxi or Auto for Konark.
Road: Road conditions are good and nearby cities like Puri and Bhubneshwar are well connected with other major Odisha cities by good network of Buses ( AC /Non-AC). There are few Buses also available for Konark from Bhubneshwar and Puri but condition and frequency of Buses are poor and not advisable.