temple of sun


Sun God or Goddess has been worshiped throughout the World in various forms by various civilizations. Solar deity or Sun is perceived as the storehouse of inexhaustible power and radiance and is often worshiped during the harvesting months.
Many temples dedicated to worship Sun have been built in recorded history of mankind where Sun God is typically depicted riding seven horses on a chariot, representing the seven colors of a rainbow. There are even some temples enshrining the Sun God as the principal deity. Many of these shrines have been designed in such a way that the sun’s rays illuminate the sanctum on certain days of the year.


Of all the places to visit in Orissa, there is one place in particular that stands out the most. Whenever you are visiting Orissa, this is the one place that everyone will recommend visiting to experience its grandeur and enormity. It’s the Konark Sun Temple or Konark Surya Mandir. Located in the eponymous village of Konark, 35 km from Puri, it is the remains of a temple that was constructed in the 13th century. If you are visiting Orissa, Konark Sun Temple is a place that you must visit. If you don’t, then your trip to Orissa will stay incomplete. Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a cultural relevance even in the 21st century. To explain this better, let’s know about its history, architecture, and why it is so revered: –


The name Konark is made of two Sanskrit words: Kona, meaning corner, and arka, meaning sun. The town gets its name from its geographical location which makes it look like the sun rises at an angle.
The Konark Temple was built by King Narasimha Deva I in 1244 to worship Surya, the Sun God. Konark was chosen as its place of construction because it has been described as the holy seat of Surya in various ancient texts.


Many Hindu scriptures mention Konark as an important place for worshipping the sun. There’s one that says Konark was the place where the first Sun temple was constructed. Samba Purana, an ancient text dedicated to Surya, tells the legend of how Samba, son of Lord Krishna, built the temple to worship the sun. It is believed that worshipping the sun was started by Samba. As the legend goes, Samba built a sun temple in the 19th Century BC at the end of his 12-year long worship of the Sun at Maitryeavana. This worship cured him of leprosy that he was suffering from.

Early References

In his book “The Sun Temple Konark” (1986), author Balram Mishra lists down several legends that led Narsimha Deva to build a sun temple in Konark. One of them states that King Anangabhima Deva worshipped Surya, the result of which was a longed-for son in the family whom he named Narasimha Deva. King Narasimha built the temple as an act of gratitude to Surya. Another legend, a copper plate inscription of Narsimha Deva II (The Konark Sun Temple was built by Narasimha Deva I)in 1295 AD says mentions Narsimha Deva I fulfilled the promise of his father to expand the Jagannath Temple in Puri, which was built by King Anantavarman Chodaganga.


The inside of Konark Temple is as glorious and magnificent as it is made to be. Its architecture has all the defining elements of the Kalinga architecture – it includes Shikhara (crown), Jagmohana (audience hall), Natmandir (dance hall), and Vimana (tower). Several legends mention that the architecture of the Konark Surya Mandir is so accurate and intricate that the day’s first light fell on the image of Surya in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, known as the Garbha Griha.


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