Sun Temple Konark – Historical past, The way to Attain, Timings


Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century CE solar temple at Konark about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast from Puri on the shoreline of Odisha, India. The temple is attributed to king Narasingha deva I of the Jap Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.

Devoted to the Hindu solar god Surya, what stays of the temple complicated has the looks of a 100-foot (30 m) excessive chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone. As soon as over 200 toes (61 m) excessive, a lot of the temple is now in ruins, particularly the massive shikara tower over the sanctuary; at one time this rose a lot larger than the mandapa that continues to be. The constructions and components which have survived are famed for his or her intricate art work, iconography, and themes, together with erotic kama and mithuna scenes. Additionally referred to as the Surya Devalaya, it’s a basic illustration of the Odisha fashion of Structure or Kalinga Structure .

The reason for the destruction of the Konark temple is unclear and stays a supply of controversy.Theories vary from pure harm to deliberate destruction of the temple in the midst of being sacked a number of occasions by Muslim armies between the 15th and 17th centuries.This temple was referred to as the “Black Pagoda” in European sailor accounts as early as 1676 as a result of its nice tower appeared black. Equally, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was referred to as the “White Pagoda”. Each temples served as vital landmarks for sailors within the Bay of Bengal. The temple that exists in the present day was partially restored by the conservation efforts of British India-era archaeological groups. Declared a UNESCO world heritage website in 1984, it stays a serious pilgrimage website for Hindus, who collect right here yearly for the Chandrabhaga Mela across the month of February.


The title Konark derives from the mix of the Sanskrit phrases Kona (nook or angle) and Arka (the solar). The context of the time period Kona is unclear, however in all probability refers back to the southeast location of this temple both inside a bigger temple complicated or in relation to different solar temples on the subcontinent.The Arka refers back to the Hindu solar god Surya.


The Konark Sun Temple is situated in an eponymous village about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Puri and 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Bhubaneswar on the Bay of Bengal shoreline within the Indian state of Odisha. The closest airport is Bhubaneswar airport (IATA: BBI). Each Puri and Bhubaneswar are main railway hubs related by Indian Railways’ Southeastern companies.


The Konark Sun Temple was constructed from stone within the type of an enormous ornamented chariot devoted to the Solar god, Surya. In Hindu Vedic iconography Surya is represented as rising within the east and touring quickly throughout the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses. He’s described usually as a resplendent standing particular person holding a lotus flower in each his arms, driving the chariot marshaled by the charioteer Aruna. The seven horses are named after the seven meters of Sanskrit prosody: Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha, and Pankti. Usually seen flanking Surya are two females who characterize the daybreak goddesses, Usha and Pratyusha. The goddesses are proven to be taking pictures arrows, an emblem of their initiative in difficult the darkness. The structure can be symbolic, with the chariot’s twelve pairs of wheels akin to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, every month paired into two cycles (Shukla and Krishna).

The Konark temple presents this iconography on a grand scale. It has 24 elaborately carved stone wheels that are almost 12 toes (3.7 m) in diameter and are pulled by a set of seven horses. When seen from inland in the course of the daybreak and dawn, the chariot-shaped temple seems to emerge from the depths of the blue sea carrying the solar.

The temple plan contains all the normal components of a Hindu temple set on a sq. plan. In keeping with Kapila Vatsyayan, the bottom plan, as nicely the format of sculptures and reliefs, comply with the sq. and circle geometry, varieties present in Odisha temple design texts such because the Silpasarini.This mandala construction informs the plans of different Hindu temples in Odisha and elsewhere.

The principle temple at Konark, regionally referred to as the deul, not exists. It was surrounded by subsidiary shrines containing niches depicting Hindu deities, significantly Surya in a lot of his elements. The deul was constructed on a excessive terrace. The temple was initially a fancy consisting of the primary sanctuary, referred to as the rekha deul, or bada deul (lit. large sanctum). In entrance of it was the bhadra deul (lit. small sanctum), or jagamohana (lit. meeting corridor of the folks) (referred to as a mandapa in different elements of India.). The connected platform was referred to as the pida deul, which consisted of a sq. mandapa with a pyramidal roof.All of those constructions have been sq. at their core, and every was overlain with the pancharatha plan containing a variegated exterior. The central projection, referred to as the raha, is extra pronounced than the facet projections, referred to as kanika-paga, a method that goals for an interaction of daylight and shade and provides to the visible attraction of the construction all through the day. The design handbook for this fashion is discovered within the Silpa Sastra of historic Odisha.

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A stone wheel engraved within the partitions of the temple. The temple is designed as a chariot consisting of 24 such wheels. Every wheel has a diameter of 9 toes, 9 inches, with 8 spokes.

Twice as extensive as they have been excessive, the partitions of the jagamohana are 100 toes (30 m) tall. The surviving construction has three tiers of six pidas every. These diminish incrementally and repeat the decrease patterns. The pidas are divided into terraces. On every of those terraces stand statues of musician figures. The principle temple and the jagamohana porch consist of 4 most important zones: the platform, the wall, the trunk, and the crowning head referred to as a mastaka. The primary three are sq. whereas the mastaka is round. The principle temple and the jagamohana differed in dimension, ornamental themes, and design. It was the primary temple’s trunk, referred to as the gandhi in medieval Hindu structure texts, that was ruined way back. The sanctum of the primary temple is now with out a roof and many of the unique elements.

On the east facet of the primary temple is the Nata mandira (lit. dance temple). It stands on a excessive, intricately carved platform. The reduction on the platform is analogous in fashion to that discovered on the surviving partitions of the temple. In keeping with historic texts, there was an Aruna stambha (lit. Aruna’s pillar) between the primary temple and the Nata mandira, however it’s not there as a result of it was moved to the Jagannatha at Puri someday in the course of the troubled historical past of this temple. In keeping with Harle, the texts counsel that initially the complicated was enclosed inside a wall 865 toes (264 m) by 540 toes (160 m), with gateways on three sides.

The stone temple was constructed from three varieties of stone.Chlorite was used for the door lintel and frames in addition to some sculptures. Laterite was used for the core of the platform and staircases close to the inspiration. Khondalite was used for different elements of the temple. In keeping with Mitra, the Khondalite stone weathers sooner over time, and this may occasionally have contributed to erosion and accelerated the harm when elements of the temples have been destroyed.None of those stones happen naturally close by, and the architects and artisans will need to have procured and moved the stones from distant sources, in all probability utilizing the rivers and water channels close to the location. The masons then created ashlar, whereby the stones have been polished and completed in order to make joints hardly seen.

The unique temple had a most important sanctum sanctorum (vimana), which is estimated to have been 229 toes (70 m) tall. The principle vimana fell in 1837. The principle mandapa viewers corridor (jagamohana), which is about 128 toes (39 m) tall, nonetheless stands and is the principal construction within the surviving ruins. Among the many constructions which have survived to the present day are the dance corridor (Nata mandira) and the eating corridor (Bhoga mandapa).

Reliefs and sculpture

The partitions of the temple from the temple’s base via the crowning components are ornamented with reliefs, many completed to jewelry-quality miniature particulars. The terraces comprise stone statues of female and male musicians holding varied musical devices. Different main artworks embrace sculptures of Hindu deities, apsaras and pictures from the each day life and tradition of the folks (artha and dharma scenes), varied animals, aquatic creatures, birds, mythological creatures, and friezes narrating the Hindu texts. The carvings embrace purely ornamental geometric patterns and plant motifs. Some panels present pictures from the lifetime of the king equivalent to one displaying him receiving counsel from a guru, the place the artists symbolically portrayed the king as a lot smaller than the guru, with the king’s sword resting on the bottom subsequent to him.

The upana (moulding) layer on the backside of the platform accommodates friezes of elephants, marching troopers, musicians, and pictures depicting the secular lifetime of the folks, together with looking scenes, a caravan of domesticated animals, folks carrying provides on their head or with the assistance of a bullock cart, vacationers getting ready a meal alongside the roadside, and festive processions. On different partitions are discovered pictures depicting the each day lifetime of the elite in addition to the frequent folks. For instance, women are proven wringing their moist hair, standing by a tree, wanting from a window, enjoying with pets, placing on make-up whereas wanting right into a mirror, enjoying musical devices such because the vina, chasing away a monkey who’s making an attempt to grab objects, a household taking go away of their aged grandmother who appears dressed for a pilgrimage, a mom blessing her son, a instructor with college students, a yogi throughout a standing asana, a warrior being greeted with a namaste, a mom together with her little one, an outdated girl with a strolling stick and a bowl in her arms, comical characters, amongst others.

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The Konark temple can be identified for its erotic sculptures of maithunas. These present {couples} in varied levels of courtship and intimacy, and in some circumstances coital themes. Infamous within the colonial period for his or her uninhibited celebration of sexuality, these pictures are included with different elements of human life in addition to deities which are usually related to tantra. This led some to suggest that the erotic sculptures are linked to the vama marga (left hand tantra) custom.Nevertheless, this isn’t supported by native literary sources, and these pictures would be the similar kama and mithuna scenes discovered built-in into the artwork of many Hindu temples.The erotic sculptures are discovered on the temple’s Shikhara, and these illustrate all of the bandhas (mudra varieties) described within the Kamasutra.

Different massive sculptures have been part of the gateways of the temple complicated. These embrace life-size lions subduing elephants, elephants subduing demons, and horses. A significant pillar devoted to Aruna, referred to as the Aruna Stambha, used to face in entrance of the japanese stairs of the porch. This, too, was intricately carved with horizontal friezes and motifs. It now stands in entrance of the Jagannatha temple at Puri.

Hindu deities

The higher ranges and terrace of the Konark Sun Temple comprise bigger and extra important artworks than the decrease degree. These embrace pictures of musicians and mythological narratives in addition to sculptures of Hindu deities, together with Durga in her Mahishasuramardini side killing the shape-shifting buffalo demon (Shaktism), Vishnu in his Jagannatha kind (Vaishnavism), and Shiva as a (largely broken) linga (Shaivism). A few of the better-preserved friezes and sculptures have been eliminated and relocated to museums in Europe and main cities of India earlier than 1940.

The Hindu deities are additionally depicted in different elements of the temple. For instance, the medallions of the chariot wheels of the Surya temple, in addition to the anuratha art work of the jagamohana, present Vishnu, Shiva, Gajalakshmi, Parvati, Krishna, Narasimha, and different gods and goddesses. Additionally discovered on the jagamohana are sculptures of Vedic deities equivalent to Indra, Agni, Kubera, Varuna, and Âdityas.


The temple follows the normal fashion of Kalinga structure. It’s oriented in direction of the east in order that the primary rays of the dawn strike the primary entrance. The temple, constructed from Khondalite rocks,was initially constructed on the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, however the waterline has receded since then. The wheels of the temple are sundials, which can be utilized to calculate time precisely to a minute.

Different temples and monuments

The Konark Sun Temple complicated has ruins of many subsidiary shrines and monuments round the primary temple. A few of these embrace:

Mayadevi Temple – Situated west-southwest from the doorway of the primary temple, it has been dated to the late 11th century, sooner than the primary temple. It consists of a sanctuary, a mandapa and, earlier than it, an open platform. It was found throughout excavations carried out between 1900 and 1910. Early theories assumed that it was devoted to Surya’s spouse and thus named the Mayadevi Temple. Nevertheless, later research steered that it was additionally a Surya temple, albeit an older one which was fused into the complicated when the monumental temple was constructed. This temple additionally has quite a few carvings and a sq. mandapa is overlain by a sapta-ratha. The sanctum of this Surya temple includes a Nataraja. Different deities within the inside embrace a broken Surya holding a lotus, together with Agni, Varuna, Vishnu, and Vayu.
Vaishnava Temple – Situated southwest of the so-called Mayadevi Temple, it was found throughout excavations in 1956. This discovery was important as a result of it confirmed that the Konark Sun Temple complicated revered all the foremost Hindu traditions, and was not an unique worship place for the saura cult as beforehand believed. It is a small temple with sculptures of Balarama, Varaha, and Vamana–Trivikrama in its sanctum, marking it as a Vaishnavite temple. These pictures are proven as sporting dhoti and loads of jewellery. The sanctum’s main idol is lacking, as are pictures from some niches within the temple.The positioning’s significance as a spot of Vaishnavism pilgrimage is attested to in Vaishnava texts. For instance, Krishna Chaitanya, the early 16th-century scholar and founding father of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, visited the Konark temple and prayed on its premises.
Kitchen – This monument is discovered south of the bhoga mandapa (feeding corridor). It, too, was found in excavations within the 1950s. It contains means to deliver water, cisterns to retailer water, drains, a cooking flooring, depressions within the flooring in all probability for pounding spices or grains, as nicely a number of triple ovens (chulahs) for cooking. This construction could have been for festive events or part of a neighborhood feeding corridor. In keeping with Thomas Donaldson, the kitchen complicated could have been added just a little later than the unique temple.
Properly 1 – This monument is situated north of the kitchen, in direction of its japanese flank, was in all probability constructed to produce water to the neighborhood kitchen and bhoga mandapa. Close to the nicely are a pillared mandapa and 5 constructions, some with semi-circular steps whose function is unclear.
Properly 2 – This monument and related constructions are within the entrance of the northern staircase of the primary temple, with foot rests, a washing platform, and a wash water drain system. It was in all probability designed for using pilgrims arriving on the temple.

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A set of fallen sculptures might be seen on the Konark Archaeological Museum, which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The fallen higher portion of the temple is believed to have been studded with many inscriptions.

Historical past

The oldest surviving Vedic hymns, equivalent to hymn 1.115 of the Rigveda, point out Surya with explicit reverence for the “rising solar” and its symbolism as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers data, the great, and all life. Nevertheless, the utilization is context particular. In some hymns, the phrase Surya merely means solar as an inanimate object, a stone, or a gem within the sky (Rigvedic hymns 5.47, 6.51 and seven.63) whereas in others it refers to a personified deity. Within the layers of Vedic texts, Surya is without doubt one of the a number of trinities together with Agni and both Vayu or Indra, that are offered as an equal icon and side of the Hindu metaphysical idea referred to as the Brahman.

Within the Brahmanas layer of Vedic literature, Surya seems with Agni (hearth god) in the identical hymns. Surya is revered for the day, and Agni for its function in the course of the evening.In keeping with Kapila Vatsyayan, the idea of a Surya–Agni relationship evolves, and in later literature Surya is described as Agni representing the primary precept and the seed of the universe. It’s within the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, and the Upanishads that Surya is explicitly linked to the facility of sight, and to visible notion and data. He’s then internalized and stated to be the attention, as historic Hindu sages steered abandonment of exterior rituals to gods in favor of inside reflection and meditation of the gods inside, in a single’s journey to appreciate the Atman (soul, self) inside, in texts such because the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Kaushitaki Upanishad, and others.

The Mahabharata epic opens its chapter on Surya by reverentially calling him the “eye of the universe, soul of all existence, origin of all life, objective of the Samkhyas and Yogis, and symbolism for freedom and religious emancipation”. Within the Mahabharata, Karna is the son of Surya and an single princess named KuntiThe epic describes Kunti’s troublesome life as an single mom, then her abandonment of Karna, adopted by her lifelong grief. Child Karna is discovered after which adopted, and grows as much as turn into one of many central characters within the nice battle of Kurukshetra the place he fights his half-brothers.

Konark in texts

Konark, additionally referred to in Indian texts by the title Kainapara, was a major buying and selling port by the early centuries of the frequent period.The present Konark temple dates to the 13th century, although proof suggests {that a} solar temple was constructed within the Konark space by at the very least the ninth century. A number of Puranas point out Surya worship facilities in Mundira, which can have been the sooner title for Konark, Kalapriya (Mathura), and Multan (now in Pakistan). The Chinese language Buddhist pilgrim and traveler Hiuen-tsang (additionally known as Xuanzang) mentions a port metropolis in Odisha named Charitra. He describes the town as affluent, with 5 convents and “storeyed towers which are very excessive and carved with saintly figures exquisitely carried out”. Since he visited India within the Seventh century, he couldn’t have been referring to the 13th-century temple, however his description suggests both Konark or one other Odisha port metropolis already that includes towering constructions with sculptures.

In keeping with the Madala Panji, there was at one time one other temple within the area constructed by Pundara Kesari. He could have been Puranjaya, the Seventh-century ruler of the Somavasmi Dynasty.


The present temple is attributed to Narasimhadeva I of the Jap Ganga Dynasty, r. 1238–1264 CE– . It is without doubt one of the few Hindu temples whose planning and development data written in Sanskrit within the Odiya script have been preserved within the type of palm leaf manuscripts that have been found in a village within the 1960s and subsequently translated. The temple was sponsored by the king, and its development was overseen by Siva Samantaraya Mahapatra. It was constructed close to an outdated Surya temple. The sculpture within the older temple’s sanctum was re-consecrated and included into the newer bigger temple. This chronology of temple website’s evolution is supported by many copper plate inscriptions of the period by which the Konark temple is known as the “nice cottage”.

In keeping with James Harle, the temple as constructed within the 13th century consisted of two most important constructions, the dance mandapa and the nice temple (deul). The smaller mandapa is the construction that survives; the nice deul collapsed someday within the late 16th century or after. In keeping with Harle, the unique temple “should initially have stood to a peak of some 225 toes (69 m)”, however solely elements of its partitions and ornamental mouldings stay


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