Thursday, 21 June 2012

Orissa (Puri – Chilika – Konark – Bhubaneswar) Part 3: Konark


Sun TempleAfter our pleasant outing in Chilika, we decided visit the famous sun temple at Konark for a day before finally heading to Bhubaneshwar.
Konark is a small town, around 35 Kms from Puri and 65 Kms from Bhubaneswar. It is the midpoint between Puri and Bhubaneswarmaking it the third vantage point of the tourist golden triangle of Puri-Konark-Bhubaneswar. Konark is most famous for being the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva-I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore very carefully preserved by government authorities both at central and state level. The temple itself takes the form of the grand chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving.
Sun TempleWe started early morning from Puri in a jeep and it was such a pleasant drive to Konark. The landscape was totally breathtaking and also varied throughout the drive. The road to Konark partly passed through coastal highway and the view along that part of the drive was simply amazing. The coastal highway had the jade green sea on one side and Casuarina trees lining up the road on the other side. The view of the sea glittering in the sun was a spectacular sight and we stopped frequently at many scenic spots to take photographs. Along the way, we also briefly stopped at Ramchandi, a virgin beach around 7 kms from Puri; the beach lies at the mouth where the River Kusabhadra meets the Bay of Bengal. It was rare sight for us to see the confluence of a river and the sea.
We reached Konark an hour before noon and promptly went to visit the Sun Temple complex. The Sun Temple, built in the thirteenth century, was conceived as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, Surya, with twelve pairs of exquisitely ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses. Majestic in conception, this temple is one of the most inspiring ancient monuments in India, famous not only for its imposing dimensions and perfect proportions but also for the harmonious integration of architectural grandeur with genuine allegiance. The Sun temple belongs to the Kalinga School of Indian Temples with characteristic curvilinear towers mounted by cupolas. The alignment of the Sun Temple is along the east-west direction. The stones at the temple are not joined by any limestone or cement. Instead, they are joined in a unique manner by making the two stone plates so plane like glass plate that just one drop of gum can join the two stones.
Sun Temple - KonarkThough the temple has lost a lot of structures due to time and vagaries of nature, it is still is a sight to behold with intricate carvings and majestic architecture. We explored the temple premises at leisure, taking photographs, reading the information snippets installed at various points and admiring the carvings. We were totally mesmerised by the beauty of the intricate carvings and the architecture.
Konark Dance FestivalKonark is also home to an annual dance festival, held every December, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Odisha, Odissi.
Soon, it was time to leave the temple and head for Bhubaneswar. After a quick late lunch and some souvenir shopping at the stalls outside the sun temple, we started off for the city of Bhubaneswar.

1 comment:

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