After refreshing for two days on beach and lake, we wanted to explore more about the history about Odisha, India. So we kept day 3 of our trip for a visit to the renowned Sun Temple located in Konark, Odisha(~ read more about Day 1 and Day 2).
We headed out around 09h00 for Konark to cover both Sun Temple and Chandrabhaga Beach in a single day. Despite a short distance of 36kms, the drive from Puri to Konark usually falls under top 5 road trips in India. I don’t think road trip is an appropriate term because even a round-trip to my office takes 4hrs, though definitely not the one to be missed. The drive was indeed a beautiful one, but I found it a little exaggerated in various articles. Moving on, as we touched outskirts of Konark, the Marine drive was just parallel to the state road. We stopped at Chandrabhaga Beach which was certainly a stunning beach and much cleaner and quieter than Puri Beach. We stayed there merely for half an hour, clicked some wonderful images and also because it was really sunny that day with temperature was soaring at more than 33 degrees.
After half hour of stroll at the Chandrabhaga Beach, we progressed towards the Sun Temple – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also listed under ‘Seven Wonders of India‘. Dedicated to Hindu God Sun, the temple is claimed to be built in thirteenth century by Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty, fabricated in shape of a chariot mounted on giant wheels with marvelous stone carvings.
The temple has various carvings of animal and human figures including voluptuous women & erotic carvings bases on the works of ‘Kama Sutra’ and some deities as well, although major portions of the temple now are in ruins and are being restored.
The wheels of the chariots are beautifully carved & apart from the aesthetic significance also show exact time of the day by looking at the shade casts of these spokes.
The entrance of the temple is guided by two giant lions ~ representing pride, each one killing an elephant ~ representing wealth and both killing a man lying underneath. The temple was believed to built on sea shore originally, to be used as landmark for sea travelers because of its dull black color(also known as ‘Black Pagoda‘).
There are various stories about the collapse of the temple, but none is verified. Some stories mention that the temple could never be completed because of early death of King Narasimhadeva, while others say it was destroyed by Kalapahad, a Muslim governor on his invasion of Odisha in 1508. There are other stories about earthquake and lightening and others predict the magnetic effects of the lodestone on the top of the temple caused various issues.
Some images from the rest of the portions of the temple, below is the ChhayaDevi Temple, built around 1100AD.
Quick Tips –
- As it is an archaeological site, so no need to remove shoes outside, unlike other Hindu Temples.
- Buy a visitor’s ticket from outside, no ticket counters once you enter the market complex. The place is usually crowded ~ be careful not to miss the ticket counters.
- No food/snacks allowed inside.
- Visit the temple early morning(opens at 06h00), the temple can be visited best in tranquility.
- If going via Puri, take a bus/taxi, only 40mins drive.
- If going via Bhubaneswar, take a bus/taxi, 1 hour drive.
Next time you plan a trip to India, do include Odisha in the itinerary, sometimes it is better to go off beat.
– The Wanderer