Sun Temple of Konark is a sight to behold. Located in the heart of Konark, this temple is the culmination of Odisha’s temple architecture. It is one of the most stunning masterpieces crafted in stone.
The Sun Temple attracts tourists from all over the world due to its outstanding structural design. The temple was built by the King Narasimhadeva in the 13th century.
The temple has a design of a massive chariot with seven horses and twenty-four wheels. This chariot acts as the carrier of Sun God when he moves across the heavens. Majestic in conception and dimension, this monument truly stands tall among all other attractions in Konark.
The Sun Temple gained the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. The Sun Temple is also the site which hosts the famous Konark Dance Festival every year.
Though some portions of the temple have been damaged, its attraction remains undiminished among the tourists.
Mayadevi Temple in Konark is located in the Sun Temple complex. This temple is also known as the Chayadevi Temple since it is believed to be dedicated to Goddess Chayadevi. The temple comprises of a sanctum or deul and a porch or jagamohana that stand on a raised platform.
The platform’s façade is decorated with extensive architectural splendour. The superstructure of the sanctum and the porch have been destroyed over time. But the interior of the porch displays outstanding sculptural finish. The inner sanctum does not have any deity placed inside it. A row of khondalite stones surround the temple complex.
The temple was believed to have been constructed in reverence to one of the wives of the Sun God, Mayadevi. But now it is believed to be the older Sun Temple. Tourists visiting the Sun Temple make it a point to visit this temple as well.
Archaeological Museum in Konark is situated near the famous Sun Temple of Konark. People flock to the museum to know and understand about the past glory of the Sun Temple and to see the loose pieces of sculptors of the temple. These pieces have been collected from the temple complex and preserved in the museum.
The museum started operating from its present location in 1968, when the fallen structures and archaeological remains of the Sun Temple were shifted to the present museum. The museum comprises of four galleries which preserve around 260 antiques that have been retrieved from the clearance work of the Sun Temple. Besides these, the museum also displays images of various other monuments and archaeological sites of Odisha.
The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm everyday except Friday.
Chandrabhaga Sea Beach is situated 3 km from the famous Sun Temple of Konark. The rustle of cool breeze and the clear water along with the spellbinding scenic beauty of the beach welcome visitors to this wonderful tourist destination.
The picturesque beach is ideal for picnics and other activities like swimming, boating or walking. One can simply sit down on the beach and get lost in its enchanting beauty. The place is away from the hustle and bustle of the town and offers a solitude that is relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time.
But during the annual Chandrabhaga Fair, the beach takes on a very different look. During that time, the beach comes alive with a lot of people, colours, light and activities. A lighthouse stands near the beach. Standing on top of the lighthouse and watching the majestic beauty of the Chandrabhaga Beach is an experience in itself.
Chaurasi is small village situated on the right bank of river Prachi. The place is famous for its temples dedicated to Barahi, Amareshras and Laxminarayanan. Barahi, also known as Varahi, is the name of Mother Goddess.
The temple was built in the first quarter of the 10th century AD. The reigning deity of the temple is Goddess Barahi. She is depicted to have a boar face and a pot belly. She holds a fish in one hand and a cup in the other. She has a third eye on her forehead.
The deity is worshipped according to the tantric rituals. The temple is lavishly decorated with splendid architecture. The temple has a rectangular porch at the superstructure level.
Tourists flock to have a glimpse of the unique Barahi deity, who is offered fish everyday. The other two temples dedicated to Laxminarayan and Amareshwar also attract visitors.
Astaranga is a famous fishing centre near Konark. The place is situated near the mouth of the Devi river. It lies at a distance of 19 km from Konark. Astaranga is a combination of two words, "asta" meaning "sunset" and "ranga" meaning "colour" in the Oriya language.
The name is appropriate for the place as the horizon of Astaranga displays mesmerising colours during the sunset. It draws tourists from all over the country to see this enchanting site. The Astaranga Beach provides the backdrop to enjoy the beauty of the place in a more enchanting manner.
The place is also well known for salt production and fishing. The small fish market on the beach is the place where fishermen display various fish and sell them to interested buyers. The mornings in Astaranga are a milieu where the fishermen return from the sea and buyers wait anxiously to buy the fresh catch.
Kakatpur Temple is located in a small village called Kakatpur on the Puri-Astaranga road in Puri district of Odisha. The village stands at a distance of 30 km from Konark. The Kakatpur Temple was constructed on the banks of river Prachi. The temple was built to worship the Goddess Mangala.
Goddess Mangala is the chief deity of Kakatpur. The Kakatpur Temple has a link to Puri’s famous Lord Jagannath Temple. On the occasion of the Nabakalebara or the festival of restoration of the idols, the priests from the Lord Jagannath Temple come to Goddess Mangala at the Kakatpur Temple and pray to her to help them find the sacred trees to create the new idols for Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra.
Jhamu Yatra is a popular festival celebrated in the Kakatpura Temple. It falls on the first Tuesday of the Hindu calendar month of Baisakh, during April 14 to May 15, every year.
Ramachandi Temple is located in the Puri district of Odisha, at a distance of 5 km from Konark. It is the temple of the reigning God of Konark, Ramachandi, who is worshipped with reverence.
The temple stands on a mesmerising spot on the banks of Kushabhadra river. The temple is famous as one of the Sakta Pithas of Puri. The main temple is built on a raised platform. The three walls of the temple on the south, west and north have figures of the sun god.
The graceful statue of Goddess Chandi remains seated on a lotus flower inside the temple. This temple is believed to be more ancient than the Sun Temple of Konark.
The beach of Ramachandi presents an enchanting view and is often crowded by people enjoying a family picnic or a outing with dear ones. This beach is also very famous among the young couples looking for a romantic escapade.
Kuruma is a unique attraction of Konark tourism. Kuruma is the name of a small village located about 8 km from the Sun Temple of Konark. The place gained fame after excavations were carried out in this small hamlet from 1971 to 1975.
The findings include a high wall and antique images of Heruka or Dharma, Sun God and Buddha. From then onwards, this village has gained importance as a Buddhist tourist spot.
The site was constructed in the 9th–10th centuries AD and is believed to have been a Buddhist monastery. The idol of Buddha discovered at this place is seated in a cross-legged position. The right hand of the idol is in Bhumisparsha mudra and it has the left hand resting on the left knee.
The image is a decorated one, which has a lovely crown and a wonderfully engraved necklace. Though the monastery stands in an abandoned position now, it still attracts visitors regularly.