Konark Sun Temple is located 35-kilo meters from Puri, Odisha. It is a 13th-century sun temple on the coastline of the Bay of Bengal. The deity which is prayed here is Surya. It is attributed to King Narsimhadeva I. He belonged to the Eastern Ganga Dynasty during 1250 CE.
The exquisite Konark Sun Temple dates back to 1250 AD. King Narsimhadeva I was the one who undertook the complete construction process. The inscriptions in the temple indicate that the sculptures were reconsecrated into a new temple. It was carved quite elaborately and is said to be built over a span of 12 years. Almost 12,000 artisans were a part of the construction process.
This temple has been an active place of worship until the mid 16th century. Unfortunately, the huge structure of the temple could not withstand the haphazard of time. The large-scale destruction ruined the temple completely. Some historians believe that a Muslim invader known as Kalapahad was the reason behind the temple’s destruction. He was the General of the Gour Sultanate.
Later, Aruna Stambha was relocated to Jagannath Temple from Konark Sun Temple. This stambha still stands there today. The archaeological teams of the British partially restored the existing portions of the temple.
This temple comes under UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It is quite famous for its unique architectural structure. The architectural structure is inspired by Kalinga architecture. There are geometrical structures along with carved wheels that serve as sundials. Also, there exist three images of Surya Devta in three directions. It catches the rays of the sun at dawn, noon, and sunset.
The Konark Sun Temple is India’s most famous Brahman sanctuaries. The monumental representation of Surya Devta’s chariot is there along with 24 wheels with symbolic designs. It is led by a collection of six horses. There are principal sanctuaries that are surmounted by a high tower with a crowing cap. The outstanding architecture of the temple is an amazing personification of divinity.
The temple structure is the main attraction of the exquisite Konark Sun Temple. The giant carved wheels which look like a sundial are extremely magnificent. The Bhoga Mandap is a kitchen that has items such as cisterns, ovens, and a cooking floor. There also exist demarcated areas for the grinding process of spices and grains. There are many intricately carved figures of animals such as lions, elephants, and horses.
The Mayadevi and Vaishnava Temple
The Mayadevi Temple is considered to be the ancient sun temple. Later, it was incorporated with the new temple. The Vaishnava Temple stores the sculptures of many Hindu deities. Some of the sculptures are that of Balarama, Varaha, and Vamana-Trivikrama.
Konark Archaeological Museum
The Konark Archaeological Museum is a must-visit place near the Sun Temple. This museum was established in 1968. Currently, the maintenance of this museum is done by the Archaeological Survey of India. This museum stores numerous artifacts and objects which are retrieved during the excavation process. There exists a total of 260 items which include sculptures, paintings, and manuscripts. All of these are displayed in four galleries.
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