Konark Sun Temple, the Best time to visit, How to reach, Where to Stay, What to see
Konark Sun Temple of Odisha is undoubtedly the best sun temples in India. It is also known as the “Black Pagoda”. The temple is a 13th century Sun Temple dedicated to the Sun and is located on the coastline of Odisha. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also one of the most popular monuments of India. The temple’s design follows the ancient Kalinga Temple architecture. It is built in a distinct chariot shape which leaves us in wonder about the imagination and capability of the ancient architects. There are twelve giant wheels on both sides and seven horses in the front.
How to reach the Konark Sun Temple?
The nearest airport is the Bhubaneswar International Airport. It is around 70 km away from Konark. You can hire a taxi to get there. The nearest railway station is Puri and its 30 km away. Local buses ply every hour to Konark. It will cost you just Rs 30. If you hire a taxi it will cost you Rs 1500 and the driver will be with you for 5 to 6 hours. You also get to stop at Chandrabhaga and Ramchandi beaches on the way.
How to visit the Konark Sun Temple?
The visiting hours of the temple are from 6 am to 8 pm. For Indians, the entry fee is Rs 40 and for foreigners, it is Rs 600. the ticket counter is located in front of the temple itself. You can also hire a guide for getting to know about the various myths and mysteries of the Sun Temple. You can find a government licensed guide at the ticket counter itself. They charge Rs 250 for 1 hour.
Konark is a part of the golden triangle of Odisha, Bhubaneswar- Puri- Konark. You can find inexpensive tours by Odisha Tourism.
Best time to visit Konark Sun Temple
The summers can be very hot and humid so it’s better to plan your visit from November to March. If you are travelling in summer make sure to bring hats and sunglasses. Also, drink lots of water and eat cucumbers to keep yourself hydrated.
Details of the daily show at the Konark Temple
A sound and light show takes place every evening at the Konark Sun Temple narrating its historical and religious significance. There are two shows daily one at 6.30 pm and another at 7.30 pm from October to March. It runs for 40 minutes and the price is Rs 50. You are given headphones and you can choose your preferred language Hindi, English or Odia.
History of the Konark Sun Temple
The Sun Temple was built by King Narashima Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple was built to celebrate the king’s triumph over Muslim leaders in Bengal. The time period of the ruin of the temple still is a mystery. Some say the Mughal invaded destroying both Konark Sun Temple and Jagannath Puri Temple.
The architecture of the Konark Sun Temple
There are two main parts of the Sun Temple, a natya mandap i.e. a dance pavilion and Jaganmohan i.e. an assembly hall. It is covered by a doula roof. There is a bhoga mandapa i.e. a dining hall to the left side of the complex and two small temples at the rear. Before the main temple falls the dance pavilion whose roof no longer remains. But the 16 pillars showing dance poses still stands. It is a great place to take Instagram worthy pictures. The main hall still stands but entering inside the temple is prohibited due to the sand collapse a few years’ backs. I strictly suggest you not to jump off the wire fence.
The entire structure of the audience hall and the shrine form a beautiful chariot with wheels and horses carved on either side. Each wheel is of the same size and rims are filled with natural scenes. The medallions in the spokes have women in various erotic poses. It is said that wheels function as a sundial to estimate the time.
There is a museum on the premises operated by the Archeological Survey of India. They have a collection of sculptures that have been ruined over the years. The entry fee is Rs 10 and it is closed on Fridays.
Why the sculptures are filled with eroticism statues?
The best-sought explanation is that erotic art symbolizes the merging of the human soul with the divine achieved through sexuality. Some also say it was a way to test the self-restraint of people before Gods when they see such erotic statues.
It is also said that these sculptures were made to rejuvenate sex interests in Buddhists as the population of the Hindus was decreasing.
Where to stay at Konark Sun Temple?
Festivals associated with Konark Sun Temple
Konark Dance Festival is held every year in the first week of December. It is the biggest dance festival in Odisha. If you are a fan of Odisha dance then you must visit this festival. Also, a sand art festival takes place every year near the Chandrabhaga beach at Konark. You can see the beautiful artworks of sand artists.
Konark Sun Temple is one of the best examples of the exemplary artistic qualities of Indians. Even though the temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site, it is getting ruined every day. So make sure to do your part in preserving it. Keep the premises clean and throw the garbage in the dustbin.