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Konark: Named After the Sun God

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''If you like traditional Indian art forms, dance, music and handicrafts, Konark is a must visit!''

The place is known for the famous Sun Temple, the most beautiful sunrise and sunset, a clean and pristine beach and exotic handicrafts. In fact, Konark derives its name from Konarka - a combination of 'Kona' meaning corner and 'Arka' meaning sun.

Location : Odisha

When to go : The winter months, especially December when the annual International Dance and Music festival is organised by the Odisha Government. Typically it is held between December 1 and 5.

Major attractions : Konark Sun Temple: A 13th Century monument, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is one of the finest examples of successful ancient architecture. Built in the form of a huge chariot with 12 gigantic wheels and seven horses pulling it, the temple has erotic idols engraved on its walls, depicting ancient lifestyle and art forms.

Konark Museum: This is where you can study the history of the temple. You can also see the ruins of the temple at Konark Museum, which is located in front of the Temple. It has many sculptures and carvings that were retrieved from the site during excavations.

Chandrabhaga Beach: About 4 km from the Sun Temple, it is one of the most peaceful beaches. The sunrise and sunset here is a must watch. You can also visit it for religious purpose - you can join local devotees to perform your daily rituals of worshipping the Sun God here.

A few kms away from the Chandrabhaga Beach lies the old Ram Chandi Temple next to the Ramchandi Beach. If you happen to visit it, make sure you indulge in some boating. Well, it's an experience - you can very well imagine taking a boat ride in a SEA. Do pick up some knick-knacks on your way back. You will get lots of them here.

The ‘Urban Haat’ - close to Sun Temple - exhibits handicraft and handloom products of Odisha. It includes the world famous ‘Pattachitra’ (Palm leave painting) and Chandua art (appliqué). May be on your way back, you can pick them up for your home!

Where to stay : It isn't very commercial yet. So, like Puri or Bhubaneswar, you are unlikely to find a string of hotels offering accommodation. But you can stay at the Odisha government-owned Yatrinivas - it has both economical and deluxe rooms. Most of the tourists prefer to stay here as one, it is economical and two, the food you get is good quality. The ambience, too, is excellent. Also, another advantage is its location - it is right in front of the Konark Sun Temple. If you fail to get accommodation in Yatrinivas, you could also try Lotus Resort - it holds adventure sports and organises other activities like camp fire. Since options for accommodation are limited, make sure you book in advance.

Yatrinivas Contact: (06758) 236820

How to reach : Well, although Konark is rich is history and culture, connectivity to the place is a bit of an issue. There is no train or airline that connects Konark. You first have to reach Bhubaneswar. Then you can take a bus or hire a cab. You can do Konark from Puri as well. Pl note, Konark lies in the way of both the cities. It is about 63 km from Bhubaneswar and 35 km from Puri.

Source / Review By : Preeti Kumari


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