Konark Sun Temple – History Narrated by Tourist Guide

After covering approx. 50 km via 316 National Highway from our hotel in Puri we reached Konark while stopping before at Chandrabhaga Beach (36 km) to have a glimpse of the beach as well as nariyal pani to quench our thirst. As soon as we get down at Konark from our hired car a middle-aged guide accompanies us requesting to show Konark Sun Temple along with narration.

How much are the charges? – I question.

Rs. 200 – He said.

Ok – said I.

We purchased Rs. 10/- ticket per person to enter the temple area and what the guide narrated was really very useful.

My name is Madhusudan Patra. I will show your Surya Mandir in Konark. For the last 40 years since 1975, I am here working as a guide. I have learned knowledge from Archeology Survey. 1984-85 professional guides have started. I will show you and tell you about The History of Sun Temple, Konark.

Why the name is Konark?
Konark is a Sanskrit language word i.e., Kon + Ark – Konark.
Kon is the angle and Ark is Sun. Angular of the Sun.

You are here because of the blessings of Lord Jagannath.
Shankh, Chakra, Gada, Padma
Jagannath ie. Puri is known as Shankh shetra.
Chakra shetra is Lingraj at Bhubaneshwar.
Gada shetra is Girija devi ma at Jajpur in Cuttack.
Konark shetra is Padam shetra. Padam is lotus. When Sun rises, lotus opens.

Konark temple is built by Odisha King Languda Narasimhadeva to create importance of the political supremacy of his dynasty.
1238 – 1250 – 12 years to complete the temple.
1200 architects and artisans built the temple.
The temple cost 40 crores of gold Coins at that time but was not completed. The King ordered to complete the temple on a final said date and wanted to place a Kalash (Urn) on top of the temple. It is believed the King ordered – If not done all artists/architects will be killed.

Bishnu Maharana was the main architect. His child’s name was Dharmapada who was 12 years old. On the last day 12 year old child placed the Kalash to complete the temple. Later his body was found on the sea beach. Few said he committed suicide to save all 1200 laborers’ life. Thus, 12 is very important in this temple construction. Because Dharmapada did suicide here there is no offering or puja here in the temple.

The temple is built in three stages – 1. Balya (child) 2. Yuva (youth) and 3. Vridha (old).

Lingraj Temple at Bhubaneshwar was built in the 10th century. Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 11th – 12th century. Sun temple at Konark was built in the 13th century.

Before the temple, there was a port name as Kainapura on the confluence of the Chandrabhaga River and the sea.

It is also believed – Sambha was Lord Krishna and Jamvati‘s son affected by leprosy. Narad rishi sent him here to do tapasya (penance) for 12 years to cure leprosy. Since then this place is regarded as sacred.
For leprosy cure, there were three medicines available here.
1. Early Sun rays
2. Neem trees all around (early known as Maitrivana)
3. Chandrabhaga river and sea confluence which cures skin disease
Because their things can’t be easily found in one place that is why this place is important. It is said and believed visiting this location removes all sins and cures diseases of a person.

Thus, Konark importance as a kshetra is much earlier than the present Sun temple.

There are four temples here.

Sun temple is designed in the shape of the chariot of Lord Sun with seven horses and twenty-four wheels carrying Sun God.
7 horses represent 7 days in a week/7 colors of light, 24 anti-clock wheels – 24 fortnights, and 8 spokes indicate eight pahar (division).

Iron and monolith stone were used to make this temple. The first temple’s name is Rangmahala showing classical dance such as Odissi, Manipuri, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Mridung, etc, etc.
There are three points from where Sun rays enter the temple. At each point, Sun rays pass for 4 months.

There are three idols made from one stone – Nara, Singha, and Gaja. Lion on top, then the white elephant, and then the man this indicates Sanatan, Buddha, and Hindu religion.

The wall of the temples contains wonderful artistic work showing various human emotions such as Darpan Sundari, Pigeon as a messenger, Towels used to dry hair, Women wearing Mangal Sutra, Classical Dance, sensuous modeling, Dragon, Narsingh, Pilgrimage, Shrawan Kumar, Marriage, Sunset, Bullock Cart, Cross table and many more..

Rabindra Nath said – Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”

Earlier Aruna pillar was here in front of the Sun temple. Shivaji Maharaj placed this pillar at Puri.

In 1903 the main temple door was closed due to falling stones but before that, from three points Sun rays directly place on top of the idol which was placed on the throne. That idol is right now at Puri.

The other temple here is Chayadevi – wife of Lord Sun. Saturn is the son of Chayadevi.

Wonderful information was shared. It was time to say bye. Thanks a lot. Amount paid. I was happy with the tour guide’s narration.