A well-known abode of God Surya in the country. It is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
The spectacular show of the art and architecture all around the temple attracts people around the World to this temple even now. The temple as it stands dates back to the 13 nth century AD, built by King Narasimha Deva 1st (1238- 1250 AD) of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
Legend is that Sri. Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, worshipped the Sun god here to cure his leprosy. On getting cured, he built a temple to Sun God as a thanks giving. This is the origin of this temple.
The story behind the construction of the present temple is even more interesting. King Narasimha Deva tried his level best to complete the construction of the temple as per his original plan. But for some or other reason the architects failed to complete as per King’s wish; finally he ordered to the chief architect to complete the construction within a stipulated period or else face the consequence. At that time a 12 year-old son of the architect said to have intervened; he fixed a magnetic beam on top of the temple and completed the work on the temple thereafter.
The temple is on a raised platform like a stone chariot which was drawn by seven horses supported by 12 pairs of elegantly decorated wheels. This basic plan is followed by a spectacular show of sculptures on every inch of available space. The theme of the sculptures include everything that a man can perceive; from floral designs to geometric patterns and from animals to carnal pleasure!!
Moreover, the 12 pairs of wheels are feast to the eyes by themselves; spokes of these wheels serve as Sundials and the shadow cast on it used to give the precise time of the day.
Sadly, the temple is in a ruined state at present; the Archeological Survey of India is doing it’s best to preserve whatever that remains.
There are many theories on the fall of this temple. Many believe that Kalapahar- the envoy of the Mughal ruler Jahangir destroyed the temple in one of his military expeditions. But many believe the temple managed to survive this attack; albeit slowly.
To them the reason for the fall of the temple is something entirely different. The whole structure of the temple got its balance from a magnetic beam placed atop the temple. In the 17 nth century AD, this beam created trouble to the ships that passed through the nearby sea by distracting it directional compass. So the British rulers removed this beam from the temple top causing imbalance and the final fall of the temple structure.
The original temple had four components; sanctum sanctorum, audience hall, Bhoga Mandir (temple kitchen) and Nata Mandir (the dance hall). Out of this only the audience hall survives as is in original. The sanctum and the bhoga mandir is in ruined state and the Nata Mandir, in front of the audience hall, survives partially.
There is no worship at this temple right now; it is believed the original idol of the Sun God of this temple is now at the Jagannath temple at Puri (few others believe it is kept at the National Museum, NewDelhi)
The Konark temple now forms part of the Golden triangle of Orissa tourism consisting the temple city of Bhubaneswar, Jagannath temple at Puri and Sun temple of Konark.
Konark is 35 kilometers from Puri and 65 kilometers from Puri.