The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combines it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to Sun God. Konark is also known as Arka khetra.
Sun Temple of Konark, built in the middle of 13th century, is a massive conception of artistic magnificence and engineering dexterity. King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty had built this temple, with the help of 1200 artisans within a period of 12 years (1243-1255 A.D.). Konark Temple was designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels , each about 10 feet in diameter, and drawn by 7 mighty horses. It is really difficult to understand, how this huge temple, every inch-space of which was so wonderfully carved, could have been completed within such a short time. Whatever that might be, the konark temple even in its present ruined state, still a wonder to the whole world. Great poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man" .
Around the base of the temple there are images of animals, foliage, warriors on horses and other interesting structures. On the walls and roof of the temple beautiful erotic figures are carved. There are three images of the Sun God, positioned to catch the rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset. Sun temple of Konark is a masterpiece of Orissa's medieval architecture.
The large structure of Konark Temple seen today is actually the entrance of the main temple. The main temple which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off and only the remains can be seen.
Konark temple, made of black granite, was initially built on the sea bank but now the sea has receded and the temple is a little away from the beach. This temple was also known as 'BLACK PAGODA' and used as a navigational landmark by ancient sailors to Orissa. Inspite of the decay over the centuries the beauty of this monument is still amazing. If you are seriously interested in architecture and sculpture then you must visit this world famous monument. It has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1984.
The Konark Dance Festival organised here every year is a great attraction for tourists. The Sun Temple Museum of the Archeological Survey of India has a good collection of sculptures from the temple ruins.
Aerial View Of Konark Sun Temple