The beautiful Sun Temple, the main attraction of Konark was constructed in the mid 13th century and still looks ravishing. It is believed by the historians that the temple was constructed by Orissan King Narasimhadev I to celebrate his victory over the Muslims. But there were many blows that the temple suffered throughout the history. The first blow occurred when Mughals attacked here in the late 16th century and removed the copper over the cupola. There were more incidents of natural and man caused damage to the temple. On multiple occasions, the cyclones from the sea damaged various parts of the temple. A cyclone damaged the compound and even Shikhara which was 40 meters high. The one half of Shikhara was still standing which collapsed in 1869. Throughout all these years, the temple underwent many damages until 1901 when finally the restoration process began.
The sands kept shifting their place and most parts of the temple had got covered with it. In 1901, Jagmohan was closed off and it was filled with the rocks and sand so that it could not collapse any further. The temple which is dedicated to the cosmic chariot of the Sun God, also known as Surya Dev in Hindu mythology is beautifully created both in terms of structure and design. There are seven huge prancing horses which indicate the seven days of the week. There is a 24 stone cartwheel which indicates the 24 hours in a day. Therefore, the temple indicates the rotation of earth around the sun and on its own axis, with a devotion to Sun. The architecture was set in such a way that the morning sun rays would illuminate the interior and the presiding deity which has perhaps been moved to Jagannath Mandir in 17th century. The main entrance is guarded by a two stones that are crushing the elephants, the statues appear wonderful. The main entrance will lead you to the dancing hall which has been designed by great artists. The steps will take you to the still standing Jagmohan. This is a huge statue and is worshipped by the devotees. Then there are impressive chlorite images of the Sun God which are aligned in such a way that they give beautiful effect when sun rays fall on them at various parts of the day.
The walls of the temple and the base tell the tales from Kalinga state. The stories have been described with the help of carvings on the rocks and the stones. Many of these carvings are in erotic style. These carvings represent the entwined couples in love making positions. The artists from various parts of the world come to see these carvings and so do the historians. There is a small temple at the ground called as Mayadevi Mandir presumed to have been dedicated to Mayadevi, one of the Sun god's wives.. This is a deep covered well and contains the ruins of a brick temple. The temple is full of statues and artistic work. On one side you will find the statues of elephants while on the other, there are statues of the horses. If you get a guide here, it will be useful for you to unravel the pages of the history that have been covered with the shades of times. The temple has a long history from various generations and therefore requires a great effort to understand.
|Visit Duration||45 minutes to 1 hour|