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Holy Destinations of India


At the southernmost tip of India, the confluence of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal is the location of Kanniyakumari, an important pilgrimage site and one of the most popular tourist spots in the country.

Kanniyakumari was once referred to as the "Alexandria of the East". It has been a great centre for pilgrimage, commerce and trade. St.Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, arrived in this area in 52 AD. Kanniyakumari was under the control of the Chola, Chera, Pandya and Nayak dynasties who built several temples. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also enriched the architectural wealth and heritage of the city. The Kumari Amman temple here is dedicated to Parvati as Devi - Kanya, the virgin goddess who eternally protects the country at its southern tip. Swami Vivekananda meditated here and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, built in 1970 is dedicated to him. From the lighthouse one can see the panoramic view of the landscape of Kanniyakumari.

Kanniyakumari or Cape Comorin is at its pinnacle during Chitra Pournami (full moon day in April) when the sun and moon are face to face at the same horizon. Other full moon days are also special when you can see the sunset and the moonrise almost simultaneously. A fine beach landscape with multi hued sands is another interesting aspect of Kanniyakumari. Palm leaf articles of Kanniyakumari are very famous.

Photos of Konark

Sun Temple Konark

Konark Temples, Orissa

Legends of Konark - The local legends say that King Narasimha Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty had ordered the temple to be built as a symbol of political supremacy of his dynasty. Over Twelve hundred of the most capable artisans and architects worked continuously for 12 years on the construction of the temple, it is said that the king had already spent an amount equal over 12 years of the tax collections. However, the completion of the temple still far from view. Enraged the king issued an ultimatum that the work be completed by a stipulated date with dire consequences otherwise. The team of architects headed by Bisu Maharana was unable to produce a solution to their arctitural problem. It is said that Dharmapada, the young son of the chief architect Bisu Maharana, arrived there as a visiting onlooker. He became aware of the anxiety looming large among the architects. Although he did not have any practical experience of temple construction, he was careful in his study of the theories of temple architecture. He offered a solution to the problem of fixing the last stone at the top of the temple. He surprised everyone by doing that himself. But soon after his glorious achievement the dead body of this adolescent prodigy was found on the sea beach at the foot of the temple. It is often regarded that Dharmapada laid down his life to save his community. The temple was dedicated to the Sun-God(Arka) popularly called Biranchi-Narayan, and the area in which it is located was known as Arka-Kshetra as well as padma-kshetra. According to folklore, Samba, son of Lord Krishna, was struck with leprosy due a curse of Lord Krishna himself. Samba for twelve years underwent harsh atonement at Mitravana, near the convergence area of Chandrabhaga river with the sea at Konark, and finally was sucessful in pleasing the SUN god (Surya), the healer of all skin diseases, and was cured of his ailment. In gratitude, he decided to erect a temple in the honour of Surya. The day following his cure, while Samba was bathing in the Chandrabhaga, he discovered an image of the god, which had been fashioned out of Surya's body by Viswakarma. Samba installed this image in a temple he built in Mitravana, where he propitiated the god. Since then throughout the ages this place has been regarded as sacred.


Konark derives its name from Konarka (presiding deity of the Sun temple) and is a combination of 'Kona' meaning corner and 'Arka' meaning sun. Konark was once a bustling port at the time of the erstwhile Kingdom of Kalinga, the former name of Orissa. The history of Konark shows that Konark also has good maritime trade relations with Southeast Asian countries.


Location of Konark - Konark is situated at latitude 19 53' North and longitude 86 06' East. It is a village in Gop police station under the Puri subdivision. From Pipli a 45 kilometres long road leads via Nimapara and Gop to Konark in the south-east. Konark is 66 kilometres by all-weather road via Pipli from Bhubaneswar, the Capital City of Orissa; and 84 kilometres from Puri, the district head quarters, also via Pipli. The entire territory lies in the Topical zone and hence is subject to high temperature. However the sea exercises a modeling influence on the climate of the Konark. So the Konarka has a pleasant climate all the year round. The maximum temperature in summer is 110 F and the minimum temperature in winter is 51 F. In Summer, cotton and in winter, light woolen clothing is required.

People are hospitable in nature and Hindi and Bengali are understood and some times spoken by the people, besides Oriya. English is generally understood and spoken by all the literate people. Best season for visiting Konark is from October to April, specially the winter season


Konark Facts & Figures
STD Code 06758
Konark Population 15,020 (census 2001)
District Puri
Climate Summer Max 43 C Winter Min 10.6 C
Average Rainfall 152.4 mm (July-September)
Best time to visit to Konark October-March
Road distances Bhubaneswar - 64 km
Puri - 35 km
Famous for Konark Sun Temple



Konak: Panth Niwas and Travellers Lodge.



Konark Sun Temple

After the hustle and bustle of the Jagannath temple, the splendid ruins at Konark, of the monumental Sun temple, speak of a world caught in a time warp. Anchored to the sands at Konark Beach, the temple stands hoist upon its enormous 24 intricately carved wheels. The temple, conceived as a chariot hauling the Sun god (Surya), across the heavens by the mighty of 7 splendid carved horses caught in the mute symphony of stone, lies in partial ruin. The Natamandira, a separate enclosure, is still intact.

The process of discovering the magnificent structure continues apace as archaeologists whittle away at the debris surrounding this colossal edifice. Today, the temple is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

This gorgeously sculpted and intricately carved temple was once the Black Pagoda to maritime visitors to Orissa in ancient times. Its erotic sculptures rival the beauty and detailing of those of Khajuraho. Its extravagant charms still lure scores of visitors. For even in its ruin, its dignity and splendour remain unmarred by the march of time..

The Open Air Auditorium, set amidst the casuarina grove, against the back drop of spectacular Sun temple, is the venue of annual Konark Dance Festival in recent times.

It was the European sailors, travelling along the coast of Orissa who first called this temple of the sun the 'Black Pagoda'. Though the sea has moved 2 km away from the mighty temple of Surya and ancient mariners have ceased to sail by, it still stands tall (the main tower is 128 feet high), an incredible architectural feat rediscovered and magnificent.

The Konark temple is now protected as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Entry fees to the monument are Rs 50 for Indian tourists and rs 460 for foreign tourists.

Nine planets' Shrine
Originally positioned above the main entrance of the Jagmohan, this 6 m chlorite slab is now in the northeast corner of the enclosure. The figures (seated) in this shrine are supposed to represent the Navagrahas (nine planet deities)--Surya, Chandra (the moon), Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu (the ascending and descending nodes of the eclipse). The second shrine in the south-west corner was formerly dedicated to Surya's wife -- the Shadow Goddess.

Archaeological Museum
Has many sculptures and carvings that were retrieved from the site during excavations. You can also buy a copy of the Archaeological Survey of India's Konark. (9 am to 5 pm, Friday closed).

Konark Beach
The beach (2 km from the temple) is fairly clean, though the currents can be a bit strong so be careful.


The convenient way to get to Konark is drive either from Puri, 35 km or Bhubaneswar, 65 km. The drive from Puri along the sea front is a treat through coastal villages and its beautiful houses.

Buses as well taxis are freely available from Puri. From Bhubaneswar, however the bus services less frequent and takes about 3-3 V2 hrs to cover the distance, while from Puri the service is very prompt, taking about one hour to reach Konark.

A round trip from Puri to Konark by AC/non AC Car Rs. 750-1000/Rs. 500-750. More adventurous lot cycle to Konark from Puri and stay there overnight.


Chandrabhaga Mela

Magha Saptami which is also called Chandrabhaga Mela is the most popular festival which fall in the month of February. This is a day specially set aside for the worship of the Sun God at Konark.Although the temple is a ruin, even today thousands of pilgrims flock to Konark every year on the Magha Sukla Saptami, the day of Spring Festivals, to celebrate the new birth of the Sun God. When the Sun has returned on its northern course, they assemble before sunrise to take bathe in the sacred Chandrabhaga river and in the nearby sea. When on that day the Sun God emerges from the ocean in the Agni Kona, the south eastern corner of the horizon, they adore and worship him with silent prayers or yells of joy, and many in their ecstasy imagine they actually see him rising from the water in his luminous chariot drawn by seven fiery horses. After that they walk one and a half miles to the temple to circumambulate the shrine and to worship the Navagraha stone which originally was above the eastern portal and is now set up in a small shed outside the compound. When their religious duties are performed, they pass the rest of the day in cooking, eating and merrymaking and by nightfall theta have all dispersed to their homeward journey. Some of these people come on foot from distant place and eventually spend a whole month on the road before reaching their destination. This shows how great is their faith and their love for the Sun God, and how strong are latent memories of ancient traditions.

This is the most popular and colourful festival of the place when lakhs of pilgrims visit Konark to observe the festival. In fact this is the second biggest festival in Orissa, next to Car Festival of Puri.

Konark Dance Festival

The enthralling Konark Dance Festival is held every year, from 1 to 5 December, in Konark, in the backdrop of the mammoth Sun Temple. The festival has made the famous tourist destination that the Konark is even more attractive in the eyes of the tourists.

The mega event is held in an open Natya Mandir (Dance Hall), on the Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark. The Konark Dance Festival showcases the best of the traditional and classical dance forms of India, besides offering interesting insights into the rich cultural and dance heritage of the country like no one else.

The leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of almost all main classical dance forms of India--including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kathakali, and Chao--take part in the five-day classical dance carnival much adding to the appeal of the event that has few parallels elsewhere.

During the Festival, the entire Konark reverberates with the sounds of the Ghungroo Bells, Flute and Pakhawaj. The elegant gestures, sensuous body language, and expressive faces of the dancers enthrall the visitors, especially the dance connoisseurs, no end. No wonder, the Konark Dance Festival is a big hit with the travellers, from both India and abroad.

A wonderful Crafts Mela is held at the time of the Konark Dance Festival which much adds to the magic of the festival. At the mela, beautiful sculptures and souvenirs made by the expert craftsmen of the region are displayed and sold.