The state of Orissa in East India takes pride in one of the most glorious architectural monuments of India, the Sun Temple in Konark where magic is created in the stones. Declared as the World Heritage Site, this temple was constructed from oxidized and weathered sandstone by Raja Narasimhadeva of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. This sun temple with all its architectural grandeur is one of the famous tourist destinations in Orissa and is known as the "Black Pagoda".
The location of the temple facing the eastern corner of the rising run has given the name of Sun Temple. Various myths and legends are associated regarding the construction of this temple that reflects the various angles of Hindu philosophy and science and the beliefs based on it. The guides present interesting stories that draws special attention of the tourists.
The Sun Temple
The temple is constructed in the form of a chariot resting on twelve intricately sculptured wheels and driven by seven horses. The spokes of the wheels are also finely carved out that symbolizes the twenty four hours of the day. At the entrance stands two giant lions in war with elephants and each elephant are placed on a human body exhibiting the win of the mighty.
The Jagmohan or the Natmandir is the stage for dancing where the temple dancers used to worship the sun god through melodious music and dance. Every inch of the stone work in this temple presents the finesse of the sculptors that inscribed wonders in the stone through various floral and geometric designs. Innumerable images of gods and goddesses, celestials and human beings, kings and the courtiers, lovers, musicians, dancers exhibit a lucid narration of their life styles in a most artistic manner. The graceful postures and positions of the structures sculpted in the walls, ceilings and pillars arouse the utmost admiration of the visitors.
The Sun Temple belongs to the Kalinga school of art and its Dancing hall (Nat mandir), Dining Hall (Bhog Mandap) and the Audience Hall clearly portrays the artistry of that school.
The famous erotic sculptures engraved on the second level of the porch depict the open mindedness of the people of that era and the art of eroticism is shown in the different postures in the human and celestial figures. The realistic approach including the charm and enjoyment of living is clearly visible through these figures.
The Chandrabhaga beach nearby is another attractive site a must visit for every tourist. Initially the temple seemed to be rising from the sea but the sea has receded a few kilometers as the centuries passed by.
The annual dance festival held in the lush gardens of the temple also attracts tourists worldwide with the unique presentation of Odissi dance and music.
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