Sun temple, Konark
|Elevation||2 m (7 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Konark is a medium town in the Puri district in the state of Odisha, India. It lies on the coast by the Bay of Bengal, 60 kilometers from the capital of the state, Bhubaneswar. It is the site of the 7th-century Sun Temple, also known as the Black Pagoda, built in black granite during the reign of Narasimhadeva-I. The temple is a World Heritage Site. The temple is now mostly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Konark is also home to an annual dance festival called Konark Dance Festival, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Odisha, Odissi. In February 2019, the Konark Dance Festival (now called Konark Music and Dance Festival) will be hosting its 33rd edition. The state government also organising annual Konark Festival and International Sand Art Festival at Chandrabhaga Beach of Konark.
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple was built in the 13th century and designed as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, Surya, with twelve pairs of ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses. Some of the wheels are 3 meters wide. Only six of the seven horse still stand today. The temple fell into disuse after an envoy of Jahangir desecrated the temple in the early 17th century.
According to folklore, there was a diamond in the centre of the idol which reflected the sun rays that passed. In 1627, the then Raja of Khurda took the Sun idol from Konark to the Jagannath temple in Puri. The Sun temple belongs to the Kalingan school of Indian temple architecture. The alignment of the Sun Temple is along the East-West direction. The inner sanctum or vimana used to be surmounted by a tower or shikara but it was razed in the 19th century. The audience hall or jagamohana still stands and comprises majority of the ruins. The roof of the dance hall or natmandir has fallen off. It stands at the eastern end of the ruins on a raised platform.
In 1559, Mukunda Gajapati came to throne in Cuttack. He aligned himself as an ally of Akbar and an enemy of the Sultan of Bengal, Sulaiman Khan Karrani. After a few battles, Odisha finally fell. The fall was also aided by the internal turmoil of the state. In 1568, the Konark temple was damaged by the army of Kalapahad, a general of the Sultan. Kalapahad is also said to be responsible for damages to several other temples during the conquest.
As of 2011 India census, Konark had a population of 16,779. Males constitute 8,654 (52%) of the population and females 8,125 (48%).As of 2001 Census Konark has an average literacy rate of 57%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 64%, and female literacy is 49%. In Konark, 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Attractions in Konark
- Konark temple: listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, the temples of Konark are the main attractions, providing a glimpse into the finest achievement of a lost masonry style.
- Chandrabhaga beach: one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in Odisha, it is the place of action for a lot of the legends behind Konark.
- Sun Temple Museum: run by the Archaeological Survey of India, the museum houses many of the artefacts from the temple.
Konark can be reached via a number of routes:
- Reach Bhubaneswar either by Flight or Train, and then take a bus or a taxi to Konark (64km from Bhubaneswar).
- Reach Puri by Train (Puri is well-connected to the rest of India), and then take a bus or a taxi to Konark (34km from Puri).
- Reach Puri by Train and take another Train to Konark (infrequent and not recommended).
Notes and references
- "Konark, Official Website (Approach)".
- UNESCO (1984). "World Heritage List: Sun Temple, Konârak". Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Konark Dance & Music festival".
- "Konark Festival and International Sand Art Festival".
- "Solar Eclipse". New Scientist. 13 August 1981. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Kapoor, R. C. "Some Total Solar Eclipses Observed from India". Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
In that sense the Feb 16, 1980 eclipse was a great awakener post Independence that created an unprecedented excitement among persons from all walks of life. The path of totality fell over places in India such as Hubli, Raichur, Nalgonda and Konark etc.
- Parkinson, John (24 April 1980). "What's wrong with the Sun?". New Scientist. Vol. 86 no. 1204. pp. 200–204.
- Konârka is a combination of two words, kona (corner) and arka (Sun). UNESCO 1984
- It is a monumental representation of the chariot of Surya pulled by a team of seven horses (six of which still exist and are placed on either side of the stairway leading to the sanctuary). UNESCO 1984
- The temple fell into disuse in the early 17th century after it was desecrated by an envoy of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. UNESCO 1984
- Further to the east, the natmandir (dance hall), today unroofed, rises on a high platform. UNESCO 1984
- Patnaik, Durga Prasad (1989). Palm Leaf Etchings of Odisha. Abhinav Publications. p. 4. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
- "Konark Sun Temple Museum". www.thekonark.in. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
- G.C. Chauley, Sun Temple of Konark: History and Preservation ISBN 978-81-86867-73-0
- Ranjan Kumar Singh, Surya: The God and His Abode ISBN 81-903561-7-8
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Konark.|
- Konark, World Heritage Site, UNESCO
- Konark (Official Site), Tourism Department, Government of Odisha
- Konark travel guide from Wikivoyage