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Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century temple of Sun God which is situated in Konark town of Orissa. The magnificent temple was built by King Narsamhadev and symbolizes the grandeur and majestic stride of Sun God. This Word Heritage Monument is representative of the culmination of the Kalinga school of Indian temple architecture. The grand temple is situated 30 km off Puri and is the greatest of all the sun temples ever built in India. Also referred as Black Pagoda, the temple has a statue of Sun God whose chariot is driven by 7 horses, signifying the seven days of the week.

The chariot has 24 huge wheels, each wheel signifying one hour of the day. The temple has several figures of musicians and dancers, and several images of chivalrous life and relaxation could be seen in the temple premises. The majestic temple was built over a period of seven years, between the years 1253 to 1260 AD. Konark Sun Temple is a crowning piece of Orissa's temple architecture and art.

The temple is famous for its faultless proportions, sublime conception and harmonious integration of architectural grandeur. There are thousands of images of dancers, lovers, musicians etc. which are interspersed with figures of exotic birds and mythological creatures. There are figures of humans, animals and divine beings that represent full range of "Carnival of Life." The fine scrollwork and traceries provide Konark Sun Temple an unmatched grandeur and elegance. The temple complex measures 857 ft in length and 540 ft in width and is aligned in East West direction of the movement of Sun in the sky. Entrance to Konark Sun Temple is guided by two giant lions. The temple walls are decorated with floral and geometrical patterns.

The main chamber of Konark Sun Temple soars to a height of 229 ft and is delicately carved. There is a 128 ft high Audience Hall with external projections. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple has fallen off while the Nata Mandir (Dancing Hall) and Bhoga Mandap (Dining Hall) are still preserved in good shape. Nata Mandir is place where dancers used to perform dance to pay their obeisance to the Sun God. The temple was built alongside the shore line which now has drifted 3 km away. The entire temple complex is designed in the form of Sun God's huge chariot which is driven by seven celestial horses on 12 pairs of intricately carved huge wheels. The spokes of the wheels act as sundials and their shadows provide an idea of the correct time of the day. The pyramidal roof the temple soars to a height of 98 ft.

Konark Dance Festival is held in the month of December every year in the Open Air Auditorium amidst the pristine backdrop of Sun Temple. The dance festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of Orissa and the ambience gets surcharged with melodious tunes and rhythms of dancing beats of the classical dancers. Best time to visit Konark Temple is between October and March as the summer months are unbearably hot and dry. You can visit the temple anytime of the day and would surely be amazed with its grandeur and aura.

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