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Get keen to know Konark

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Konark

If you are a travel enthusiast and wish to get on a journey to explore India to its finest, head over to Konark. A gigantic man-made phenomenon, standing since centuries, raising brows of those who discover its beauty. Konark is the third link of Odisha’s Golden Triangle where the first is Jagannath Puri and second is Bhubaneswar. Konark is a small village in the state of Odisha. It is located 66 km from Bhubaneswar which is the state capital and also the nearest airport. Trains from major cities connect here as well.

Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

The main hero of Konark is the Sun Temple. It is a monument that has been declared as a World heritage Site by UNESCO. The temple was built in the 13th Century by King NarasimhaDev I of the Ganga dynasty. It stands along the Bay of Bengal and represents the Kalinga School of Temple Architecture. One of their great attractions is the Annual Konark Festival and the Dance and Music festival held here in December and February.


Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Famous Poet Rabindranath Tagore  says about Konark that, ‘here the language of stone surpasses the language of man’. It is absolutely true, since the experience here cannot be described in words. The sea is located 2 km from here but it is said that the waves use to come almost up to the base. It was a navigational point for the European sailors who used to call it ‘Black Pagoda’.

The entrance has two lions each killing a war elephant and beneath the elephant is a man. Here, lion symbolizes pride and elephant symbolizes money which further shows how both these elements can destroy man.

Sculpture of lion, elephant and man Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Sculpture of lion, elephant and man
Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

It is constructed in a way that the first rays of the sun fall on the entrance of temple through the Nata Mandir or Dancing Hall and reflecting from the diamond in the temple.  There are many activities held here to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. Events like dance, music and culture festivals are organized all around the year. The temple had a heavy magnet which was placed at the top of the temple. The idol here was said to have been floating in air due to this. However it is said that the magnet was taken by British voyagers.

Nata Mandir Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Nata Mandir
Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

The temple has a stunning design of a colossal chariot of 24 wheels drawn by seven horses, carrying the Sun God- Surya across heaven. The spokes of each of these wheels create a sundial which helps calculate time of the day. Lord Surya has been a popular deity since the Vedic period. In order to build the temple it took around 1200 men, 12 years and a mind boggling concept to construct this masterpiece. There are main images of Lord Surya on 3 directions of the temple.

Wheel of the chariot as sundial Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Wheel of the chariot as sundial
Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

The reason as to why this amazing structure was built is a mystery; however locals say that when the soldiers went for war but returned with victory the king had the temple made so that the sculptures symbolizing coitus would arouse them and they could have kids who would become soldiers to serve the king in future. However the sculptures seem to appear differently to different age groups.

Sculptures in the form of coitus Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Sculptures in the form of coitus
Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

It’s not just the erotic replica but the temple has parts of every aspect of life depicted in its intricate sculptures. There are thousands of images which include deities, celestial and human musicians; dancers, lovers, battles, hunts, animals and mythological creatures. The design of the temple is a mixture of abstract and geometry which are pleasing to the eyes and surprising to the mind.

Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

Picture credits: Prasanth Menon

You can visit places around Konark which are of equal importance to Odisha’s history.

Chandrabhaga Beach

It is located 3 km from the Sun Temple and is a great joint if you wish to witness local fishing.

Kuruma

It is located 8 km from Sun Temple and is an important archaeological Buddhist sites. There is a museum adjacent to the temple which is run by the Archeological Survey of India. It is open on all days except Friday.

Chaurasi

It is famous for the twmple of Goddess Barahi and a tantric shrine which dates back to 9th century. It is situated 30 km from Konark.

The other places to visit around Konark are Astharanga, Ramachandi Temple, and Kakatpur.

The magnificent structure is now in ruins and is in process of maintenance. Free press Journal requests its readers to take the initiative and stop such heritage sites from getting vanished.