Konark Temple: The Black Pagoda

Konark Temple: The Black Pagoda

Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man. –Rabindranath Tagore

Konark Sun Temple situated in Odisha, India is a temple dedicated to Sun God, Surya. It was built on the shores of Chandrabagha Beach but the waterline slowly receded with time. It was built around 13th century by Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty  and took 12 years to build and required 12,000 artisans. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

konark temple.
Front view of the temple.

The temple is designed like a chariot having 12 pair of wheels and 7 horses. The main portion has fallen down and just the front portion remains. Now many poles are placed to protect the front portion from falling.

konark temple
There are two sculptures of a lion and an elephant at the entrance.

The Legend of Dharmapada

Legend has it that after completing the temple the chief architect Bisu Maharana and his workers were unable to place the temple crown stone properly. It would always fall down. Frustrated, the king ordered the temple to be completed in 3 days or all the artisans be put to death. At the time, Bisu’s 12 year old son, Dharmapada  happened to come around. Bisu didn’t know that he was his son as he had left his home 12 years ago while his wife was pregnant.

Sculptures on the wall.

Dharmapada successfully placed the crown stone in its place. But the artisans were still apprehensive that the king would be displeased to know that a boy succeeded in doing what his best artisans couldn’t. To save his father and his co-workers, Dharmapada climbed onto the temple and leapt into the water.

Statue of Surya Dev ( Sun God) in Konark temple.
Statue of Surya Dev ( Sun God)
You'll have to be there to believe that these intricate designs can actually be carved on stones.
You’ll have to be there to believe that these intricate designs can actually be carved on stones.


Konark Temple.

It is said that due to this reason , the God is not worshipped in this temple. But this might just be a myth because according to some medieval texts, worship ceased in the temple around 18th century. There was also a huge pillar called, Aruna Stambha on entrance of the temple but it was later moved to Puri Jagannath Temple.

The famous wheels of the Konark Temple.
The famous wheels of the Konark Temple.

The temple is quite famous for its erotic sculptures of various sexual activities. It is believed that these were sculpted on purpose on the temple walls to test the beliefs of the devotees. If one can concentrate on God despite these things, then he/she is a true believer of God. I wonder if these stories are true or our ancestors were just cooler than us.


Erotic sculptures on the Temple Walls.
Erotic sculptures on the Temple Walls.


What are your experiences of the temple?

Note: This is my first post and I expect lots of constructive feedback. Your valuable comments will be appreciated.

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  1. from next tym onwards plzzz ask d owner of photos & give d photo courtesy… cuz the d photos u have used are copyright and u might face problems… :p 😀

    1. These photos are all clicked by me only. 😀

  2. Beautiful place. Will surely visit there some day. 🙂

    1. Yes, do visit. It is a wonderful place. And contact me if u need any help 🙂

  3. The details on those stone carvings are phenomenal. Reminds me of some Angkor stonework I saw in southern Laos, both Hindu and Buddhist influenced. Very nice indeed!

    1. Thanks Darcy 🙂 I too just love the intricate details with which these stones are caved. And it is my dream to visit the Angkor Vat as it is the largest temple complex ever built. You must have had a great time there. Thanks and stay in touch 🙂

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