Konark Tourist Attractions
Konark is a small town and the site of the 13th C Sun Temple, a World Heritage site. Konark is also home to an annual dance festival devoted to classical Indian dance forms.The beach at Konark is also a popular tourist attraction and ideal for sunbathing. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the local fishing fleet at work or watch the stunning sunrise.
The Sun Temple in Konark is a magnificent structure, a stunning monument of religious architecture. Originally the Sun Temple was located nearer to the coast and was used as a navigational point by sailors, who referred to it as the 'Black Pagoda'.The entire temple was designed in the shape of a chariot to carry the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. Seven prancing horses, representing the days of the week rear at moving this formidable stone chariot. The chariot has 24 stone wheels, representing the hours in a day, located around the base of the temple.Two stone lions crushing elephants and stairs lead into a dance hall, which is adjacent to the temple, guard the main entrance to the Sun Temple. The base and walls of the temple feature a sequence of carvings that represent religious, military, social, and domestic aspects of this period during the 13th C. Many of these are erotic in nature, a style that Konark is famous for.Three images of the Sun God have been stationed to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset. On the grounds around the Sun temple are a small shrine, Mayadevi Temple, situated to the west of the temple towers; the ruins of a brick temple; the group of elephant statues and a set of horse statues are both shown trampling soldiers.Even in its state of ruin, the Sun Temple is awe-inspiring and not to be missed!
The Archeological Museum in Konark features many sculptures and carvings found during excavations of the Sun Temple.Many of the fragments are of varying sizes and provide a glimpse of architectural and artistic patterns of the temple. Aspects of the religious, social and economic life of the people of Orissa during the 13th C are also highlighted.
Nine Planets' Shrine
Nine Planets' Shrine is located just outside the walls of the Sun Temple. The chlorite slab forms the centerpiece of the small shrine.The Nine Planets of the Hindus are the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (dragon's head), and Ketu (dragon's tail). The carved seated figure within the shrine represents the Sun.