Most of us read about Konark Sun temple in our school books. There are number of Sun Temple in India but ‘Konark Sun temple’ is the most prominent among all. Crowned with the label of UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 due to its beautiful architecture and unique sculptures at Konark sun temple. Konark is a small town at the eastern shore of Odisha around 35 km from Puri and 65 km from capital city Bhubneshwar. These three cities make Eastern Golden Triangle. Tourists who visit Sun temple also have option to enjoy on white sandy beach of Konark.
History of Konark Sun Temple
Narasimhadeva-I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty build this ancient Konark’s Sun temple in 13th century. Almost 1200 artisans put their continuous effort for 12 years to complete its original structure. The temple have a chariot like shape, while main portion lie on about 20 feet raised platform.
There are 24 number of ornamented Sun wheels on the temple wall which is also icon of Konark Sun temple. 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 attacking on elephant. In most of Odisha temple you see these two lions at the main entrance.
Most of the parts of temple are in ruin or in bad phase so you will always find continuous restoration work on temple is going on. Even its main structure filled with big boulders and steel structure to prevent it from collapsing. 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.
Sculptures at Konark sun temple
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, sculptures at Konark sun temple also exhibits various sexual image, although maximum of which are smaller in size. The Sun wheels and walls are full of such sculpture in 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 for Konark Sun Temple
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 Sun temple
Being a small town of Odisha, Konark does 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 have good connectivity 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.
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See more: Famous tourist attraction of Odisha