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Sun Temple Konarak : Important tourist attractions of Orissa

A visit to Orissa is never complete without taking a look at the Sun Temple Konarak. The place is also referred to as the Konark Surya Mandir. It is considered to be one of the most important tourist attractions of Orissa and exhibit the cultural trait of the people and architectural style of the region during the ancient periods.

Every year thousands of tourists visiting Bhubaneswar and Puri make a note of visiting the Konark temple without fail. Quintessentially it happens to be one of the major sites of tourism visited by countless tourists not only from the various parts of the nation but also the world every year.

Sun Temple Konark built by

The Konark Sun Temple was built during the rule of King Narasimha Deva – I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple was built around 1250 AD. The temple has been styled in the well versed mythology of the Hindu Sun god or Surya.

The Hindu Vedic textures have represented Surya or the sun as a male deity that rises in the East and travels rapidly across the sky into the West. The Sun god is believed to travel by a Chariot that is ridden by seven horses. He is described as a God in a standing position with two lotus flowers held in his either hands.

The Chariot is marshaled by Aruna. The seven Horses of the Chariot names after 7 meters of the Sanskrit prosody. They are Brihathi, Gayatri, Jagaty, Ushnih,  Anushtubha, Trishtubha and Pankti. The Sun god is flanked by two female Goddesses of dawn namely Usha and Prathyusha. This goddess is depicted holding a bow and arrow and shooting arrows towards  either side as a symbol of challenging darkness.

The structure of this architecture and its design happens to be rather symbol. The Chariot has 12 pairs of wheels which symbolizes the twelve months of the Hindu calendar and every month once again is paired into two cycle the Krishna and the Shukla.

Sun Temple Konarak Timing 

The Konark Sun Temple is open for the visitors from Sunrise to sunset. You can visit this Temple anytime round the week. To witness the complete glory of the temple you need to visit it right at the break of the dawn when the first rays of the Sun illuminate the principal entrance of the temple in a stunning and eloquent manner. This is once again the best time to avoid heavy crowds visiting the place.

The inside and the outer inscriptions and sculptures along with the entire architecture of the temple can be best witnessed, analyzed and examined in broad daylight. It is advisable that you reach the place during the daylight hours and visit the entire temple and its surrounding area and then head for return journey before sunset.

Sun Temple Konark Information

The Konark Sun Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and it has been placed under the protection of the ASI. It happens to be one of the best and grand scaled Sun Temple ever to have been constructed in India. It is also one of the most popular non Mughal monuments of India. Surveys have revealed that nearly 2.5 million people visit this temple every year and it happens to be one of the principal principle tourist attractions of Orissa.

People visiting Bhubaneswar and Puri for vacation often makes a trip down to the Konark Surya Mandir. The temple design and architecture follows the popular Kalinga temple architecture traditions. Nevertheless this temple is very different in its architecture and visual appearance. Unlike the other temples in Orissa the Konark Sun Temple has a distinct Chariot shape.

The walls of the temple contain beautiful sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and are engraved with images of animals, birds, mythological creatures and human forms. Initially the temple was constructed over 200 feet or 61 meters. However in the current time much of the temple has dilapidated into ruins – the exact reason for which is still not determined in history.

Sun Temple is Located at & How to Reach

The Konark Sun Temple has received its name from two aspects – the Hindu Sun God to the temple has been devoted and the exact location of the temple – Konark. Sun temple is located at a small town in the Puri district in Orissa. The town is about 60 kilometres away from the capital of Orissa Bhubaneswar and lies at a distance of 35 km from Puri.

Being one of the principle tourist attractions of Orissa the Sun temple in Konark is well connected to Bhubaneswar and Puri through routes of taxis, buses and train. The best way however to reach Konark is to rent a private or public cab from Puri.

The bus stand in Konark is about 6 minutes away from the temple. You can also travel in a bus from Puri to Konark which will be about an hour’s journey and can then plan your visit to the temple. Tourist from all over India reaches Puri through the railway network. The Puri railway station happens to be the nearest station from the Konark Temple. It is about 30 kilometres away from the temple.

If you are in Bhubaneswar you can take a train to come down to Puri and then hire a taxi to reach the location of Konark Surya Mandir. The Biju Patnaik International Airport or the Bhubaneswar airport happens to be the nearest airport to the Sun temple in Konark. The temple is about 65 kilometres away from the Bhubaneswar airport.

Entrance Fee for Surya Mandir

The Indian tourists will have to purchase tickets to visit the temple which will come for Rs. 40 for the Indian tourists.

The foreign tourist will have to pay an entrance fee of Rs. 600 to see the temple.

Tourists who are SAARC and BIMSTEC citizens will have to pay an entrance fee of Rs. 40. To see the konark sun temple light show you will have to buy a separate entry ticket. They will also be available with the entry tickets to the venue.

The entry fee of konark sun temple light show timings is Rs 30 for every audience. The entry tickets are available at the venue and you can also pre-book them from online platforms like yatra.com.

Konark Sun Temple Architecture & Important Structures

The complex of the konark sun temple architecture mainly consists of two parts. They are the dance Pavilion or the Natya Mandapa and secondly the Assembly Hall or the Jaga Mohana. You can also see the roof or pidha deula that rest on the same platform which happens to be the remnants of the Rekha deula’s shrine.

You can also see a separate dining hall which was known as the Bhoga Mandapa that happens to be on the left hand side of the complex. Two smaller temples rest in the backside of the temple. The main end of the temple opens on the dance pavilion which is again guarded by Statues Of two regal stone lions crushing the war elephant. The pavilion roof however is no longer there. You can only see it 16 pillars with intricate carving of human forms in dance poses.

Out of the most well preserved structures of the temple the audience hall is the principal one. This is the most dominating feature of the temple entrance has been sealed and its interiors has been filled up with sand so that it does not collapse with time.

Along with the audience hall some of the other noted features of the temple are the Chariot formed shrine, the horses that has been carved on the platform, the wheels, the motifs done on the wheels, the Medallion that holds women postures on them, are worth a mention.

Best time to visit surya mandir

The summers in Orissa are scorching to say the least. Again visiting the surya mandir in the monsoons comes with its own share of practical snags. The best time to visit the place is during the autumn-winter-spring season. Hence try to visit the place between the months of November and March. These are the months when the temperature outside is really comfortable. You can comfortably stay outdoors and can easily go through all the features of the architecture.

Konarak Mandir History

The konarak mandir is one of the architectural wonders of Ancient India. The temple rightfully reflects the ancient culture and tradition of ancient Orissa. The architecture contains elements of the Hindu temples of that era. The Chariot shaped temple is built on a square plan. The layout of the relief and the sculptures along with the ground plan follows the circle and the square geometry. Similar pattern is visible industrial Silpasarini temple in Orissa.

The Mandal plan makes and elemental contribution in the overall construction of the Hindu temple. The main temple of Konark however does not exist anymore. The temple was originally a large and sprawling complex that contained a main sanctuary. The central projection of the temple is much more pronounced as compared to the side projections.

Attractions nearby Konark Surya Mandir

Once you have visited the konark surya mandir you must visit the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneshwar, Jagannath temple in Puri, Raghurajpur handicraft village, and pristine beaches of Chandrabhaga and Ramchandi.

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