Konark is one of the well known tourist attractions of Orissa. It is about 60 kms from Bhubaneswar. If you take the marine drive which is a road that goes along the sea shore, it is 33 Kms from Puri. Bhubaneshwar, Konark and Puri constitute the Golden triangle of Orissa, visited in large numbers by pilgrims and tourists.
Konark is also known as Konaditya. The name Konark is derived form the words Kona – Corner and Arka – Sun; it is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri or the Chakrakshetra. Konark is also known as Arkakshetra.
It is said that the temple was not completed as conceived because the foundation was not strong enough to bear the weight of the heavy dome. Local beleif has it that it was constructed in entirety, however its magnetic dome caused ships to crash near the seashore, and that the dome was removed and destroyed and that the image of the Sun God was taken to Puri.
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. Konark sun temple resembles a colossal chariot, with 24 wheels, pulled by seven straining horses, and has a three-tiered pyramidal roof topped off by a fine spire. The Sun – God’s chariot, also represents the seven days of the week, and the 24 hours of the day, in its concept. The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with impressive sculptures. Every aspect of life is represented here, and the erotic imagery, depicts the sublimation of human love manifested in countless forms. Scenes from court, civic life and war are also done with great precision.
Konark temple had two smaller outer halls, completely separate from the main structure. The assembly-hall and the tower were built on an imposing platform, which were carved into meticulously crafted twelve pairs of decorated wheels, each 10 feet in diameter. The entrance is reached by a broad flight of steps, flanked on either side by prancing horses, the whole representing the chariot, in which the Sun-God rides across the heavens. The court of the temple, was decorated with large free-standing sculptures of great strength and beauty. Now protected under the World Heritage List.
Near the Sun Temple there is a beautiful Konark beach which offers a view of the glorius sunrise and sunset. There is a famous Ramachandi Temple on the confluence of the river Kushabhadra and the sea, 8km from the Konark beach.
KONARK DANCE FESTIVALS : The Chandrabhaga Mela or Magha Saptami mela in the month of February, is a grand religious festival. Thousands of pilgrims converge on the pool, on this day to take a holy dip in its curative waters, and then shuffle off to the beach where, in accordance with an age-old custom mentioned in the puranas, they watch the sun rise over the sea. The event is followed by the puja of the Navagraha.
Those interested in attending the Konark Dance Festival, held in the open air auditorium north of the Sun Temple, should visit during the first week of December.