Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Konark – an architectural wonder
According to Purana, Shamba, son of Lord Sri Krishna was suffering from leprosy by the curse from his father. He worshiped Sun for 12 years in the bank of Chandrabhaga river. Sun, the God was pleased by his prayer and cured him. Shamba made this sun temple at the junction of Chandrabhaga river and the Bay of Bengal. That’s why till today a fair is held in January – February and it is holy to take bath in Chandrabhaga beach.
Lord Curzon in the year 1904 brought out this temple from the heaps of sands, under which the temple was lying for 300 years.
Whoever has made this temple, it is really a wonder of architecture and regarded as one of the heritage sites of UNESCO.
At the main gate you can see two lions at each side of the gate killing elephants. It is said that, this was the symbol of proving supremacy of Hinduism over Buddhism at that ancient time! Like all other temples of Orissa this temple has also four main parts Bhogmandir( Kitchen and dining), Jagmohan (Porch to enter the main temple) Nat mandir ( Dance hall) and Biman ( where the main deity is placed).
There is stairs to climb to the porch (jagmohan) . Three chlorite stone statues of Lord Sun are there. In the early morning, afternoon and evening a tangent ray of sun fall on the face of these statues.
If you see from a distance you can realize the temple is built in the form of chariot and is drawn by seven horses. The seven horses symbolize the seven days of the week. 12 wheels are there on each side of the chariot denoting 24 fortnights (Paksha) of 12 months. There are eight spokes in each wheel symbolize 8 segments (Prahar) of a day. Most of the wheels are now almost destroyed with time and other natural and human factors except one with its full glory.
Look at the plinth of the temple, there are at least 1700 elephants are curved. Every inch of the wall of the temple is intricately decorated with different statues, telling the stories and life style of ancient times. The erotic images of all forms of sexuality are vividly curved. On the first landings 8 dancer girls on the angles are unique and charming.
It is heard that there was a powerful magnet on the top of the temple (Kumbha Pathar), This magnet use to attract the ships and caused various problems to them. Some of the crew of such a vessel destroyed that stone.
Though reliability of all the stories told cannot be ascertained but whatever may be the story, the end product is awesome. It is heard that this temple was built by 12000 labor and artists in 12 years time!
The temple remain open from 6 am to 5.30 pm. Free entry is on Fridays; on other days above 14 yearsof age the ticket is INR 10.
The geological museum near the temple is also worth visiting. His remain open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Konark dance festival is a yearly festival held from 1st to 5th December. This prestigeous festival is held in open air and participated by the reputed dancer from all over the country.
How to visit Konark:
Most of the tourists visit Konark in conducted tour either from Puri or Bhubaneshwar. Konark is 64 Km from Bhubaneshwar and there is regular bus service from here throughout the day. From Puri via a beautiful marine drive Konark is 36 km and you can get regular bus service. Easiest way to see Konark is by conducted tour either by bus or car. But if you want to enjoy the details of the fabulous work of art, better stay here for a day or two.
Where to stay at Konark:
STD code of Konark: +91 06758
OTDC Traveler’s Lodge and Pathanivas: Ph 236831 DB and Family Bed @ INR 300 – 550
Yatrinivas of Orissa Tourism: Ph 236820 DB and Suite @ INR 450 – 2000
Labanya Lodge Ph: 236818 DB @ INR 2000 – 400
Youth Hostel, Konark
This article is republished at India Study Channel