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Tourist Places To Visit In Konark
A dream crafted in stones, the Konark is home to temples, ruins, monuments and more. The Sun Temple is at the forefront, a stunning creation of man. A 13th century construction, the Sun Temple marks the culmination of temple architecture of Orissa and as a fascinating piece of artistic creation it has carved out a niche for itself as one of the prides and wonders of India. Even in its ruins today the Konark Sun Temple is magnificence personified. And the Konark Dance festival just brings it to life every year in December. There are beaches and shrines, all awaiting you here in Konark. Read on for some more amazing tourist places to visit in Konark.
Konark Sun Temple
The biggest attraction of Konark is undoubtedly the Sun Temple, dedicated to the Sun God. The temple built in the shape of an enormous chariot, with twelve pairs of wheels and drawn by seven horses is a stunner. Built under the patronage of Raja Narasingha Deva I of the Ganga Dynasty, the Sun Temple is also referred to by many as the Black Pagoda. The entire temple is an enormous repository of artistic wealth. The intricate patterns of bas relief, the precision of sculptured figures, the flawless proportions, designs and architectural details of the temple are mesmerising and unparalleled. The exquisite displays of craftsmanship bear testimony to the perseverance and brilliance of the artists at Konark. The following description of the Konark Temple which features in Abu’l-Fazl’s A’in-i-Akbari best describes the beauty of the temple "Near Jagannath is a temple dedicated to the Sun. Its cost was defrayed by twelve years revenue of the province. Even those whose judgement is critical and who are difficult to please stand astonished at its sight."
Much of the temple structure is in ruins today but even the little that has survived the vagaries of time can leave a visitor spellbound. The temple remains open from 9.00am to 6.00pm. There is an Archaeological Museum which is open to public from 10.00am to 5.00pm and remains closed on Fridays. Entry fee for Indian nationals and those from the sub-continent is Rs. 10 while for foreign nationals it is Rs. 250.
Konark Dance Festival
If you are visiting Konark in the month of December you will have the possibility of enjoying the Dance Festival of Konark. Every year the dance academy of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan organises this cultural festival in honour of the Sun Temple and it is a fascinating experience.
Chandrabhaga is a seaside town located only 3 km from Konark Sun Temple and makes for a lovely one-day getaway while visiting the temple town. The sandy beaches of Chandrabhaga are famed for their scenic sunrises and sunsets as well as the lighthouse nearby. The Hindu calendar dates of Kartik Purnima and Magha Saptami are special here as pilgrims come from far and wide to take a dip in the sea of Chandrabhaga.
The Ramachandi Temple is a temple dedicated to the goddess by the same name, located on the mouth of River Kushabhadra. The temple is not only for those religiously inclined but also for those who come for sightseeing and relaxing. There is a picnic resort nearby and the place is only 7 km from Konark. It is believed that this temple is older than even the sun temple of Konark and houses the head deity of the town.
Kuruma is a small village near Konark, only 8 km away. Kuruma is home to some very ancient Buddhist sites and makes for a great half day trip from Konark. You will be able to visit the sites and ruins here where the stupas described by Hiuen T'sang stood once upon a time.
ASI Museum is a place for history buffs and nerds, one where you will get to see the ancient artefacts that show the traditional Oriyan art form to its fullest. The museum is home to almost 250 types of artefacts, all from numerous eras, recovered from the Konark Sun Temple.
Varahi Devi Temple
Varahi Devi Temple of Chaurasi is located 27 km away from Konark. It is also called Barahi Temple and sits on the bank of River Prachi since time immemorial. Goddess Varahi is worshipped here since 10th Century CE, when this temple was built under the Somavamsi Empire. Goddess Varahi sits on a buffalo throne and is pot-bellied. She has the face of a boar and holds a fish in her hands. The worship rituals here are tantric in nature, and contrary to other Hindu temples, the goddess is offered non-vegetarian feast of fish everyday. The architecture of this temple, as of most temples of Konark, is worth seeing. Made of sandstone and engraved beautifully, there are many sculptures also to be found in the premises of this temple. From Suryadev’s sculpture to Ramayana’s scenes painted on walls, there is much to peruse here.
The colourful beach, so called because of its burst of sunset colours, is one of the best beaches to visit in Konark. Astaranga Beach is 34 km away from the town centre, and sits near River Devi. The Bay of Bengal is a mist of blue on the other side. The beach is home to loads of seashells buried in sand, fishermen setting off to catch their daily load and Olive Ridley Turtles crawling up the shore to lay eggs. There is also Pir Jahania, a shrine close to the beach that is often visited by tourists.