Sun Temple of Konark
The Sun Temple of Konark stands on a deserted stretch of coast in Orissa, overlooking the Bay of Bengal. For centuries sailors navigating the shore used this once lofty building.
Battered by storms and sea winds, nibbled by salt and sand, the temple seems to be gradually returning to its source, like some majestic galleon that is slowly but surely slipping under the waves. Now the Sun Temple stands nearly two miles (3-km) from the sea, but originally the Bay of Bengal came to within a few yards of the walled enclosure. In times of storm during the monsoons, flood tides still advance menacingly toward it.
The Konark Sun Temple is one of the many temples in India dedicated to the Sun God, but it is by far the finest. The main temple is embellished with intricate carvings both on the inside and outside. However, the high point of this temple is that it is said to be an exact replica of the chariot of the Sun God, as if frozen in stone.
Legends describe a lodestone on the top of the Sun temple. Due to its magnetic effects, vessels passing through the Konark sea were drawn to it, resulting in heavy damage. Other legends state that magnetic effects of the lodestone disturbed ships' compasses so that they did not function correctly. To save their shipping, the Portuguese voyagers took away the lodestone, which was acting as the central stone and keeping all the stones, and the iron columns used to hold them walls together, of the temple wall in balance. Due to its displacement, the temple walls lost their balance and eventually fell down. But there is no record of this occurrence in any historical records, nor is there any record of the existence of such a powerful lodestone at Konark.
The most popular theory about the root of the fall of Konark temple rests with the Kalapahad. According to the history of Odisha, Kalapahad invaded Odisha in 1508. He destroyed Konark temple, as well as a number of Hindu temples in Odisha. The Madala Panji of Puri Jagannath temple describes how Kalapahad attacked Odisha in 1568. Including Konark temple, he broke most of the images in most of the Hindu temples in Odisha. Though it was impossible to break the Sun temple of Konark, the stone walls of which are of 20 feet (6.1 m) to 25 feet (7.6 m) thick, he somehow managed to displace the Dadhinauti (Arch stone) and thus made a way for the temple to collapse. He also broke most of the images and other side temples of Konark. Due to displacement of the Dadhinauti, the temple gradually collapsed and the roof of the Mukasala was also damaged, due to the stones falling down from the temple top.
How to reach:
Can also be exciting. There are private owned deluxe Volvo buses with their comfy interiors. Volvo buses can be boarded from Puri as well as from Bhubaneswar. In addition to this, there are public buses that do not burn your pocket by costing Rs 1.50 per Km.
Traveling to Konark by Train is another option for a tourist. One can board train from Puri, which is only 31 Km away from Konark. There are 2 trains named Puri Express and Purushottam Express that can take you to Konark.