Temples of Orissa - Konark Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The Konark temple is a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun god. It is a magnificiant temple with extremely beautiful sculptures reflecting the genius of the architects. The combination of Konark with Bhubaneshwar and Puri is referred as the golden triangle of Orissa.

The word Konark is derived from Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning sun. It is also referred as Arkakshetra. The temple built in1278 CE by the Ganga King Narasimha Deva is one of the grandest temples of India and is also referred to as the Black Pagoda.

The place of Konark has references in the Puranas as Mundira or Mundirasvamin, a name that was subsequently replaced by Konaditya or Konarka.

Another legend says that the temple was built by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. Samba was very handsome and proud about his appearances. Once he ridicules the sage Narada who in order to take the revenge, lures the boy to the pool where his stepmothers, the consorts of Krishna were taking bath. When Krishna came to know about his son, he became furious and cursed him with leprosy. But later, knowing the real fact, Krishna was mortified. As the curse could not be revoked, he tells his son to approach the sun god “Surya” who is the healer of all diseases and hope for the cure.

After 12 years of severe penance and worship, Samba was blessed by Surya who instructs him to take bathe in the sea at Konark. When Samba did so he was cured of his disease. Overwhelmed with joy, Samba decides to erect a Sun temple at the place which became Konark.

The world famous Konark dance festival is a mega celebration at this temple which is held in winter every year.


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