[Guest Post] Konark Sun Temple: The Black Pagoda

The Konark Sun Temple, built in the 13th century, in India takes its name from the Sanskrit words, Kona (corner) and Arka (sun) in dedication to the Sun god Surya. The monument was called the Black Pagoda by European sailors in contrast to the Jagannath Temple in Puri which was called the White Pagoda. Both temples served as important landmarks for the sailors.

I find it astounding how we are able to visits places from such historic dates. The Traveloholic had the privilege to visit this temple and he is happy to share his experience with us. All the photos and the following words were provided by Somnath, the traveloholic


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.

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.

A Banyan tree in the premises.

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.

Intricate sculptures on the walls of the temple.

Statue of Surya Dev, the Sun God.

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.

You’ll have to be there to believe that these intricate designs can actually be carved on stones.

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.

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6 thoughts on “[Guest Post] Konark Sun Temple: The Black Pagoda

  1. Thank you Miss Mani for yet another great post. I hope you keep inspiring people to visit this ancient wonder of india. 🙂

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