A sun salutation at Konark

Having spent the early sun hours at Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, considered as one of the cardinal pilgrimage sites for Hindus i asked my taxi driver if a quick sun salutation to Konark Sun temple was possible before i catch a flight back home.  After calculating the time he nodded with affirmation.

He drives me along the coast to reach the Konark – the magnificent sun temple which is the epitome of orissan architecture and the state’s sculptural finesse . Built in 13th century by the king Narasimhadeva, it derives its name from the presiding deity Konarka meaning orka – the sun and kona – corner. It was dedicated to the sun god Surya. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

First sight of konark
First sight of konark sun temple

I make my way to the entrance after going past rows of shops selling souvenirs, hats and accessories made from shells.  I get the first glace amidst the selfie taking tourists – a portion of temple covered with bamboo sticks for restoration work.  While thinking how my photos would turn out with those bamboos everywhere i suddenly get a overwhelming number of guides asking me to hire them. They go to the length by saying you will not understand anything if you don’t take a guide along with you.  I recall my guide experience at Angkor Wat, and decided not to hire one and figure out myself.

Chariot design of konark
A chariot design of konark sun temple

After crossing the porch, I came across the main section of sun temple which was planned to look like a massive chariot with 12 pairs of ornamented wheels. These wheels signify 12 months of a year.  On a closer look of these wheels, they are lavishly crafted with incredible details of deities, birds, sculptures, motifs from everyday life. The fact that it has stood for over 7 centuries is the testament of the amazing engineering and artistry of the by gone era.


Intricate carvings in stones
Intricate carvings in stones
Depiction of animals at sun temple
Depiction of animals, this was my favorite

How to reach Konark sun temple?

By air: Bhubaneswar city is the closest with airport about 64 km away.

By train: The railway stations nearest to Konark are located in Puri and Bhubaneswar. These stations are linked with almost all the major destinations in India by train.

By road: The National and State Highways link Konark with Puri and Bhubaneswar. Hiring a taxi is the best way of travel between Puri and Konark. There are good number of transport buses as well as private coaches plying from both the cities.

Entry fees:

For Indians: Rs. 30 and for foreigners: Rs. 500

Beautiful craftmanship on door at konark sun temple
Beautiful craftsmanship on door

Timing: 6am to 8pm

Where to stay: Since Konark and Puri are close to each other and can be covered within a day trip from Bhubaneswar, it is ideal to stay to be in the city. I stayed in Ginger Hotel.

Sustainable travel tips:

  • Being an ancient world heritage site which is already dwindling with age, respect the structures by not sitting on them. Sit outside the temple in the garden.
  • Do not harm the structures by carving or writing on it
  • Do not enter places which are closed off, there’s a reason why they are closed.
  • Throw your garbage in the dustbins located at the entrance of each temple.

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A sun salutation #konarksuntemple #odhisha #india



33 thoughts on “A sun salutation at Konark

  1. Wow, this is truly amazing for you were able to get a chance to visit this magnificent sun temple before heading back home. I love the intricate design of the building and the facade looks really amazing. How I wish to traipse my feet here If I get the chance Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  2. The history and the detailed intricate sculptures and design of this temple is fabulous. I am sure it would look even better during sunrise or sunset if that is allowed. Even the crowd might be much less

    1. Yes it looks amazing during sunrise as the sunrays fall on the wheels. Unfortunately I couldn’t reach during that time

  3. This is one of those places that I have often heard and read about but still not visited. Your post is very informative and beautifully worded.

  4. I always find myself in awe when I see pictures like these. The intricate carvings in the stone take my breath away, tell an amazing story/history, and are something that I’m not used to seeing. Even though having all of those bamboo sticks in the pictures aren’t ideal, I think they add to the character of the location and give some insight to the culture.

  5. The details on the stones are amazing. I can only imagine the time it took to create such an incredible place. We travel with the kids and I’d love to show them this part of the world!

  6. Wow! I have to admit that I have never heard of the temple before. But then, there are so many incredible things to do and see in India that I have never heard of. The country is just so large and full of wonders that it is hard to visit them all 🙂

    1. Tell me about it! 30 years and I still haven’t been to do many states in India. Truly it is a wonder 🙂

  7. Wow I visited the Sun Temple in Konark over 20 years ago, and your post and photographs brought back some great memories. Although if I remember there is a section of the building that has some rather ‘risky’ bas reliefs from the Karma Sutra?!! Am I right, or am I thinking of another temple. As a young independent traveller, I remember being shown these by an over friendly Sadu – oh the joys of travelling solo!

    1. Haha yes there is a section of of relics on Kama Sutra. I just decided not to mention them in this post as they really didn’t need to! Oh and solo travel is the best 🙂

  8. Very informative post. I love finding out about new locations, it adds to my list of places to visit 🙂 Temples has such a great atmosphere, even by looking at them in a picture.

  9. Konark temple is one of the many places in India that male me feel proud of our rich heritage and culture! Such beautiful photos and wonderfully explained experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this 😊

  10. I cannot even imagine how many artists it took back then to create such magnificent structures for worship.It’s beyond incredible to artistry, the skill required. And probably the Passion as well, like you said, that made it such a long standing structure. What a great stop in India!

  11. We used to visit Puri a lot as family during childhood. In 3/4 days vacation, one day used to be dedicated for konark temple. This massive, somber ruin is so poignant. Thanks for bringing back those memories

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