Tucked inside the enchanting city of Puri in the Indian state of Odisha is the quaint town of Konark. It possesses one of the popular architectural marvels of the east which is the Sun Temple. Taking a trip here will allow you connect deeply with your spiritual side while also allowing you to catch a break from the daily grind. And, this Konark travel guide is all you need to know your way around the town.
The history of Konark mainly revolves around its renowned Sun Temple. Due to the numerous shipwrecks that occurred off the shore, the temple was once known as the Black Pagoda and served as a landmark for European miners traveling to Kolkata.
Legend has it that this temple was built by Samba who was cursed with leprosy for his wrongdoings by his father, Lord Krishna. To plead his innocence he had to practice penance for 12 years to Surya, the Sun God. After 12 long years, the Sun God appeared and healed him of his disease. And, that’s how Samba decided to worship the Sun God and built a temple in his honour.
During the 15th to 17th century, the same temple was distorted several times by the army of Kalapahad, a general of the then Sultan of Bengal, Sulaiman Khan Kharrani. The structure of the temple was originally a magnificent chariot of the Sun god with twelve pairs of ornamented wheels, pulled by seven horses. However, after the attack, much of the structure was ruined and some sections were later restored by the British. A collection of sculptures from the temple are kept in the Sun Temple Museum. In 1984, the temple complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is an entire light and show organized here that retells the history of the temple for its visitors.
If you’re planning to visit Konark by flight, then the nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneshwar, just 64 km away from Konark. The airport is well connected to many cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, and others. From the airport, you can either take a 1 hour cab ride to Konark.
There are two railway stations near Konark, which is the Puri railway station at a distance of 36 km and the Bhubaneswar railway station at 69 km from Konark. You can either take a taxi or get a local bus service to reach Konark from the railway station.
If you’re taking a bus or your own private vehicle, Puri or Bhubaneswar are great starting points. From the beach town of Puri, the temple town of Konark is just an hour away.
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It's always preferable to travel to a location when it has the most to offer. And between September and March is the ideal time to visit Konark. At this time of year, Konark experiences excellent weather conditions with pleasant temperatures.
Though Konark is primarily famous for the Sun Temple, it has a lot of other places of interest. Sun temple, Sun temple museum, and the Archaeological Museum are some of the key tourist spots here. Situated by the Bay of Bengal, it also has many nearby tourist attractions along the sea like Chandrabhagha Beach, Marine Drive, Jaidev Park, Konark Beach, and others.
The best way to travel around and see all these places is to take a local bus or have your own private vehicle with you. Taking a bus would not just help in cutting down your expenses, but would also let you meet the locals of Konark and see the town from a different perspective!
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A trip to the historic town of Konark is incomplete without visiting the Konark Sun Temple. Depicting the chariot of the Sun God being pulled by seven horses, this temple has charming architecture with intricate carvings. Standing stoically for over two thousand years, this temple is a true masterpiece reflecting the artistic genius of the time. Though the structure has been slightly ruined, it still holds a significant place on the list of World Heritage Sites. So, the Sun Temple has to be a priority on your trip to Konark.
Whatever you missed seeing at the Sun Temple, can be covered here at the Sun Temple Museum. Situated right by the temple, this museum was built for the purpose of housing all the sculptures and fallen excavations from the Sun Temple. The image of Surya in sandstone, various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the reconstructed wall of the temple, and the gigantic head of the crocodile are some of the major attractions you’ll find at the museum. If you’re a true lover of history or art, then you would love to explore this museum filled with various artifacts and antiquities.
To celebrate the cultural heritage of Konark, there is an annual dance festival held every year usually in the month of December. This festival is dedicated to all Indian classical dance forms. People from all over India come and be part of this festival and perform different dances. With the Sun Temple as the backdrop, this festival truly reflects the artistic grandeur of the town. It is recommended that you plan your trip around this time so that you don’t miss out on this 5-day extravaganza!
Konark is not just about it’s ancient temples and historic museums, it is also home to some serene beaches and landscapes. Surrounded by the golden sand and tall swaying trees, the Chandrabhaga beach has some alluring views to offer. It is not just known for being one of the cleanest beaches, but also holds some historical significance. You can also witness various festivals and celebrations on the beach shore. This beach is a perfect place for you to unwind with a walk on the warm sand, wind in your hair, and the gushing sound of the waves.
Yet another gem of the beautiful city of Konark, is Astaranga Beach. Astaranga means “colorful sunset”, do you even need another hint to not miss out on the gorgeous sunset at this beach? Every sunset turns the sky magical with a mix of orange, purple, blue, and pink, and is reflected in the waters of the sea, creating a dreamy view indeed. Every morning there is a market for fresh fish set up at the beach, making a variety of fish available for purchase. So, a visit to the Astaranga beach is a must on your Konark itinerary.
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How Long Does It Take To Visit Konark?
Konark is a small temple town and the main attraction here is the Konark Sun Temple. If you’re planning to just visit the temple you would need a day or two.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Konark Sun Temple?
The best time to visit Konark Sun Temple is from September to March. The pleasant weather makes this time ideal for visit. In fact, if you plan on visiting the temple in December, you can also be a part of the sun festival celebrations.
Is Konark Open For Visitors?
Yes, the Konark Sun temple is open to visitors. All you have to do is go through the thermal screening and follow the protocols they have in place.
Is Photography Allowed In Konark Temple?
No, the Orissa High Court has banned photography within the premises of Sun Temple. However, if you hold a license from the ASI, then you’re an exception to this rule.
What Is The Speciality Of Konark Temple?
The architecture of the temple in Konark is brilliant and what makes it special. UNESCO heritage site and the
Why Sun Temple Is Called Sun Temple?
The temple is called Sun temple because it was built to worship the Sun God, Surya. In fact, Konark gets its name from the Sanskrit words “Kona” meaning angle, and “Arka” meaning the sun.
What Is There To See In Konark?
The Konark Sun Temple is the main attraction in the temple town of Konark. Besides that you can also check out Chandrabhaga beach, Konark Natya Mandap (a cultural center), and Puri which is a short drive away.