City that celebrates Sun with temple & dances
A tiny location in the state of Orissa, Konark is renowned for its centuries old Temple, alluring trendy beach and of course for the much acclaimed dance festival. Konark alias Arka-Tirtha is in fact a combination of Kona and Arka which means the Sun around the crook. The outstanding monuments of Konark reflect the quintessence of Oriyan architecture.
The annual Dance Festival of Konark receives worldwide accolades. The enthralling performances of distinguished classical dancers provides a delightful feast. The Sun Temple, which makes a magnificent backdrop, adds the charm to this cultural pursuit. This five day cultural extravaganza has helped this sleepy town to become a thriving tourist destination. Besides this, Konark also holds the Sun Festival, where the devotees take a holy dip in the sea before the sun rises and offer their prayers to Sun god.
Craft Mela and Handicraft Exhibition held as part of this dance festival lures people with its wide range of artifacts on display. The variety of handicrafts on offer make shopping a blissful experience. Commenced under the auspicious of the Department of Industry from 1991, this fair is a grand show of stylish handicrafts, rural handlooms and potteries. At artists’ camps expert artisans and craftsman present their adroitness in rustic surroundings.
Konark is an excellent combination of traditional architecture and stunning natural ambiance. A fabulous temple at a sauntering distance from the beach presents the sumptuousness of the conventional Indian architecture and art, which holds one’s breath. Situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Konark’s poetry carved stone temples win one’s heart with their majestic charm.
ASI Museum: Situated outside the Sun temple, the ASI museum showcases some delicate models of ancient Oriyan architecture. The museum has four arcades, which exhibit about 250 odd varieties of various antiques recovered from the Sun temple. Besides, it has a rich reserve collection.
The first gallery houses the plunged monuments regained from the Sun temple complex. The renovated wall of temple, trendy stuff like celestial nymphs, janitors, stones carved with rich flora and fauna, are some of the exhibited items in the second gallery. The colossal figures of fine craftsmanship like image of Surya Narayana, celestial goblins, and some erotic sculptures have been presented in the third gallery.
The newly constituted fourth gallery displays artifacts like part of a Surya image, man tied in the trunk of an elephant, roaring lion, erotic couples, among various other things.
Chandrabhaga Beach: Chandrabhaga beach town is 3 km from the Sun temple in Konark and is known for natural cure available here for lepers. It has numerous interesting mythological legends associated with it. Besides being rich in marine resources, a large colony of fishermen from Andhra Pradesh that live beside the dried river mouth represents the typical tribal life of India. It should be visited by those interested in exploring the culture of the region.
Konark Beach: An unspoiled beach in unison with the emerald water and the golden sand, the exquisite beauty and elegance of Konark Beach is more visible at dusk and dawn. A pristine beach, where one can enjoy the sputter of normal seashore and the serenity of a pilgrimage site. Konark Beach is famous for the annual Magha Saptami Mela, during which devotees undertake a holy bath and have a gaze at the rising sun.
The rambling beach at Konark is regarded as one among the best in the eastern coastal line of India. With a vast expanse of golden sand, it offers a calm atmosphere of relaxation. A leisurely walk by the beach side, enjoying the gentle breeze is a pleasing experience. One can also doze underneath the Sun to enjoy its relaxing effect. Though this is a perfect spot for taking a Sun bath, the presence of strong currents makes swimming hazardous. Panoramic scenery of Sunrise is the other fascinating attraction of this beach.
Sun Temple: A 13th century temple dedicated to Lord Surya, Sun Temple at Konark displays the glory of ancient Orian architecture at its zenith. Built in the year 1250 AD, in the reign of King Narasimhadeva-I, Konark temple depicts the varied materialization of Hindu architecture. Till recently, this temple served as a navigation point to sailors. The Europeans called this temple as ‘Black Pagoda’ owing to its black color.
This temple was unearthed in late 19th century. The Konark temple is recognized not only for its architectural stateliness but also for the cornucopia of sculptural vision. The edifice of the temple is in the shape of a chariot, which is driven by seven horses. The intricately carved wheels of the chariot are a great sight. It is believed that the wheels represent the hours of the day and the shadow of these majestic wheels tell the exact time.
Best time to visit
The climate of Konark consists of a seasonal blend of summers, winters and rainfall. The city can be best visited from September to March.
How to reach
By Train: Puri, at distance of 31 km, is the nearest railway station to Konark. Puri is connected to all major cities in India.
By Air: The nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar, at a distance of 64 km away from Konark.
By Bus: Konark is connected to other cities in Orissa by the State Public Transport buses. Private Volvo bus services are available from Bhubaneshwar and Puri to Konark.