Tourist Places of Konark
The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural greatness but also for the intricacy and grandeur of sculptural work. It is an ample testament to the artistic glory of the time. The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is a masterpiece of Orissa's medieval architecture, and one of the most amazing monuments of religious architecture in the world. Sun temple has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Built in the thirteenth century, it was designed as a mammoth solar chariot with twelve pairs of meticulously crafted and exquisitely-ornamented wheels dragged by seven galloping horses. The entrance is guarded by two giant lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body. The temple symbolizes the majestic stride of the Sun god. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata Mandir.
This is where the temple dancers used to perform in homage to the Sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns.The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: "here the language of stone surpasses the language of man."
The main tower, which is now in ruin state, originally followed the same general form as the towers of the Lingaraja and Jagannath temples. Its height, however, surpasses both of them, crosses 227 feet. The jagmohana (the porch) structure itself exceeded 120 feet in height. Both tower and porch are built on high platforms, around which are the 24 giant stone wheels of the chariot. The wheels are exquisite, and in themselves provide eloquent testimony to the genius of Orissa's sculptural tradition.
The whole temple symbolizes the passage of time and describes the significance of each carvings. The seven horses, which pull the sun temple eastwards towards the dawn, represent the days of the week. The 12 pairs of wheels represent the 12 months of the year and the eight spokes in each wheel symbolize the eight ideal stages of a woman's day.
The Sun Temple has lost its many of its original structures to time and disrepair, but the remaining structures and the remainder of the structures confirm till today the vast imaginative thinking power of the artisans’ of the time and their inspiring contribution to Religious Culture followed at the time.
Kuruma – A tiny and tranquil village Kuruma is best known for its Bhuddist heritage. Recent excavations show images of Heruka mounting on buffalo and another image of crowned Buddha seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra are being worshipped by the local people as Yama and Dharma respectively. Historians are of the view that this was onc of the sites containing Budhist stupas described by Hiuen T'Sang. Kuruma is about 8 km away from the world heritage site of Konark.
Chaurasi – Orissa is a home of many remarkable ancient temples of golden era and Village of Chaurasi contributes in a big way. The place is famous for Amareswar, Laxminarayan and Barahi temples. The presiding deity is Barahi with the face of boar an pot bellied.
Ramachandi – One of the prominent Shakti Pithas of Puri the temple of Goddess Ramchandi attracts large crowd from far and wide. Located merely 7 km before Konark on the scenic Marind Drive road from Puri to Konark it is also famous for the splendid and romantic picnic spot.
Astranga – Orissa is the home for many crystal clear beaches. Astranga, among them is perhaps the most spectacular and picturesque beach. True to its name you can witness a multi-hued sun set from here. Astranga means eitght colours. Salt production and fishing are the two main professions of the people here. The beach is 35 km from Konark and 91 km from Puri.
Approach : By air Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport. Konark is 65 km from Bhubaneswar and 25 km from Puri by road.
Best time to visit : May to October.
Kuruma (8 km) – 8 km from the world famous Sun Temple of Konark, Kuruma is a small village. Recent excavations here have brought to light the reminiscence of some ancient Buddhist antiquities like the image of Buddha seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra along with the image of Heruka, and a 17 metres long brick wall (brick size: 22 cm X 17 cm). Scholars are of opinion that this was one of the sites containing Buddhist stupas described by Hiuen T'sang. The place is approachable by jeep.
Chaurasi (14 km) – 14 km from Kakatpur and 30 km from Konark one can visit the shrines of Amareswar, Laxminarayan and Barahi at Chaurasi. Barahi is the Mother Goddess with the face of a boar. Pot-bellied, she holds a fish in one hand and a cup in the other. The deity belongs to 9th century A.D. and is worshipped according to tantric practices.
Ramachandi (7 km) – On the confluence of the river Kushabhadra and the Bay of Bengal, Ramachandi, the presiding deity of the Konark region is worshipped here with reverence. On the Marine Drive, the place is ideal for week-end picnic.
Astranga (35 km) – Right on the sea-shore, it is 91 km from Puri and 10 km from Kakatpur. Astaranga presents a panoramic view especially during sunset on a multi-coloured horizon as if to justify the literal meaning of its name. It is a centre of salt production and fishing.