Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”, says Rabindranath Tagore, about the iconic Sun Temple at Konark.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Konark Sun temple is a striking model of ancient artistry, fluidity of ideas, and a pedagogic treasury. Dedicated to the sun god, Surya, the first rays of the sun fall on the entrance of the temple. Much of the temple has fallen into rack and ruin but what remains still holds enough charm to captivate. An interpretation of a greater imagination, it has seen empires rise and fall, identities washed away, yet appealing to our sensorium even today.
Konark Sun Temple Information
Believed to have been built in the 13th century CE the temple was built by the King Narasimhadeva I hailing from the Eastern Ganga dynasty between 1238-1250 CE. The temple was commissioned by the king while Samantaraya Mahapatra was the one in charge of its construction. ‘Konark’ means the sun and the four corners. The temple was called Black Pagoda attributing to its dark facade by the Europeans who used it for navigation for their ships. It is said that the temple could draw ships to the shore due to its magnetic powers.
Konark Sun Temple Architecture
The temple is known for its impressive Kalinga architecture that includes a depiction of a 100 ft high chariot being pulled by horses and wheels carved out of a single stone. The monument portrays the imposing chariot of the sun god. Built of Khondalite rocks, the original temple had 230 ft high sanctum which no longer exists, 128 ft high audience hall, dance hall, dining hall which survive still. There are 24 intricately designed wheels, 12 ft in diametre which are seen drawn by horses. These seven horses represent the week, the wheels stand for the 12 months while the day-cycle is symbolised by the eight spokes in the wheels. And this whole depiction tells how the time is controlled by the sun – being the very illustration of the Surya in the Hindu mythology travelling from the east in his chariot escorted by his charioteer, Aruna.
The entrance leads to the shrine of the deity of Surya made of chlorite stone. The walls of the temple are adorned with reliefs – intricate carvings of various figures including Hindu gods, images of the everyday mortal life, birds, animals and more. The temple also has erotic sculptures on its shikhara belonging to the tantra tradition. The wheels of the temple can be used as sundials and can very well predict the time.
Discovered in 1909 during the excavations, it lies to the west of the Sun temple. An important temple in the complex this is dedicated to Mayadevi – the wife of Surya, the temple is older than the Sun temple built around the 11th century. Its sanctum houses a Nataraja, and other chambers of the temple have idols of Surya with Vishnu, Vayu, Agni. The temple was considered by some as another temple made to worship sun god but a few believe that it was dedicated to the wife of Surya.
Konark Sun Temple Timings
Konark Sun Temple timings are 6 am to 8 pm.
Konark Sun Temple Address
Konark Sun Temple address is Konark, Odisha 752111.
Konark Sun Temple Opening Days
The temple is open on all days.
How to reach Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is situated in Konark, a town in the district of Puri in Odisha. It is approximately 60 km from the capital Bhubaneswar and 35 km from Puri. Konark is a famous tourist destination owing to the Sun Temple and thus it is well-connected to Puri and Bhubaneswar by trains, buses and taxis. The easiest way however, to reach Konark is to rent a cab from Puri.
Nearest Bus Stand to Konark Sun Temple:
Konark Bus Stand is 6 minutes from the Sun Temple. You can board a bus from Puri and reach Konark in an hour. OSRTC and private operators provide bus service from Puri to Konark.
Nearest Railway Station to Konark Sun Temple:
Puri Railway Station is the nearest railway station from the Konark Temple. It is 30 km from Konark. You can book Bhubaneswar to Puri trains and then take a taxi to reach the temple.
Nearest Airport to Konark Sun Temple:
Bhubaneswar Airport or Biju Patnaik International Airport is 65 km and around an hour-long drive from the Konark Sun Temple. You can easily get taxis on hire to reach Konark from the airport.
Konark Sun Temple Ticket Information
The Konark Sun Temple ticket can be purchased at Rs 40 for Indians whereas if you are a foreigner then you have to pay Rs 600. The entry fee for Konark Temple for BIMSTEC and SAARC citizens is Rs 40. The entry tickets to Konark Sun Temple for the light and show can be bought at the venue. The visitors are provided wireless headphones and they have a choice between three languages: English, Hindi and Odiya. It is an hour long show starting at 7 pm. The ticket price is Rs 30 per person.