History of Konark
In 1559, Mukunda Gajapati came to throne in Cuttack. He aligned himself as an ally of Emperor Akbar and an enemy of the Sultan of Bengal, Sulaiman Khan Karrani. After a few battles, Odisha finally fell. The fall was also aided by the internal turmoil of the state. In 1568, the Konark temple was said damaged by the army of Kalapahad, a general of the Sultan. Kalapahad is also said to be responsible for damages to several other temples during the conquest.
Attraction of Konark
The Konark Temple was built in the 13th century and designed as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, Surya, with twelve pairs of ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses. Some of the wheels are 3 meters wide. Only six of the seven horses still stand today. The Sun Temple of Konark fell into disuse after an envoy of Jahangir desecrated the temple in the early 17th century. In Konark, the "Natya Mandir", the dance hall of the Sun Temple probably remains as the last remnant of the glorious temples of Odisha an extant example of the architectural excellence of the times. Built in the 13th Century, here a colossal image of the chariot of the Sun, drawn by seven horses and 24 wheels symbolises the divisions of time. The main tower of Konark stood as high as 227 feet, superseding both Lingaraja and Jagannath Temples. The Jagmohana (Porch) structure and the tower are both situated atop the stone platform supporting the 24 wheels. The Konark Sun Temple also houses a Natamandira or dancing hall. Only two subsidiary temples out of the 22 that were also situated inside the temple precincts exist today. The Sun temple of Narasimhadeva is a depiction in stone of the life of those times royal, social, religious and military. The intricate carvings on the walls and wheels of the chariot are unprecedented in history. The fine sculptures depicting Court life, hunting, scenes, and celestial deities are epitomes of precision and grace. Graceful sculptures from the world of the Kamasutra, epic of eroticism also adorn the structures. The Sun Temple standing in solitary splendour is the relic of a great past. The history lovers can regale themselves at the Archaeological Museum at the site of the Konark Sun Temple. The majestic Sun Temple silhouetted against the setting sun remains indelibly etched in the spectator’s memory.
Konark is easily approachable from Bhubaneshwar-64 kms & Puri-32 kms by coaches and tourist cars. Regular bus services including conducted sightseeing tours are available for Konark from Bhubaneshwar and Puri. Konark is connected with both rail and roadways. The nearest airport Bhubaneshwar (64 kms) is connected with Kolkata , Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur by Indian Airlines , Air Deccan, Indigo and Jetlite flights. The nearest railheads Puri (31 kms) and Bhubaneshwar (64 kms) are connected by rail with all the major places in India. Konark is well-connected by regular bus-services with Puri, Bhubaneshwar as well as all the major places in Odisha.
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