Set along the Bay of Bengal, 65 km from Bhubaneswar, the small town of Konark in the state of Orissa has a significant history and adds a lot to the Indian cultural scene on the whole. Mostly famous for the Sun Temple, it sees the advent of several tourists and historians at various points of the year from various parts of the world. Located near the holy city of Puri and believed to have been built by Narashimhadev I in the mid-13th century, the temple is devoted to the Sun God or Surya and is an extraordinary work of art reflecting Orissa's medieval architecture, designated as a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
The massive structure of the eminent temple of Konark, now largely dilapidated, has been structured in the shape of a chariot bearing the Sun God across the heavens. The huge intricately carved wheels of the chariot, around the base of the temple, are the key attractions of the temple. The spokes of these wheels act as sundials, and the shadows formed by these will give you the exact time of the day. The pyramidal roof of the temple, made of sandstone, rises up to 30 meters in height. Like the temples at Khajuraho, the Sun Temple at Konark is full of erotic sculptures.
In the medieval era when the temple was situated on the shore, it was actually used as a navigational aid by the European sailors on their way to Calcutta. They used to refer to it as the "Black Pagoda" to differentiate it from the "White temple"-the Jagannath Temple at Puri. However, a former Surya temple existed in Konark as early as the 9th century but most of the present structure dates from the 13th century.
Apart from the above, there are other tourist attractions in Konark that will make your tour to Konark all the more exciting. Konark Archaeological Museum, Konark Beach, Ramachandi temple and Konark Math are amongst them. Situated on the northern part of the Sun temple, the museum preserves a large variety of antiques. The museum has four galleries that display nearly 260 antiquities, collected from the complex of Sun Temple.
Konark Beach, located at a distance of three km from the famous Sun Temple, is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Orissa. The amazing views of the lovely sunset and sunrise are extraordinarily enchanting.
Positioned towards the southwestern part of Sun Temple, the Ramachandi temple has been thus named after Goddess Ramachandi. Some people believe that the temple is devoted to Goddess Ramachandi and so it is known as Ramachandi temple.
Visits to the above mentioned various places of interest on your Konark tour will make your trip a memorable and fulfilling one.