KONARK SUN TEMPLE-ORISSA
Built by Eastern Ganga Dynasty king Narsimhadev I in 13th century, Konark Sun Temple is also known as 'Black Pagoda' of Orissa, India. The chariot shaped Sun Temple is characterized by finely carved interiors and exteriors. Few of the sculptures are very erotic in genre. Sun Temple of Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is rated by Times of India as one of the Seven Wonders of India. Konark Sun Temple is a prime tourist destination in any India heritage tour itinerary and, thus, holds a vital place in Orissa tourism.
This is 30 Km north of Puri and 64 Km from Bhuwaneswar and is situated on the coastline. The Sun temple, built in 13th century, is the most distinguishing feature of Konark. It was in ruins till the early 1900s. In 1904, this famous temple was unearthed from the sand and debris around it. This mammoth and majestic structure is indicative of translating vast and intricate imagination into glorious hard-rock reality. The entire temple, conceived as a chariot of Surya (the sun god), has 24 gigantic carved-stone wheels at the base. Representative of seven colours in sun rays, seven mighty horses haul at the temple and the immense structure is covered with carving, sculpture, figures and bas-reliefs. As per the estimates of the archaeologists, most of the original structure has collapsed but the temple's interior is more or less intact. The three images of Surya, the Sun god, are still intact and placed in such a fashion that they catch the sun rays at all time except night. Bases, walls and roofs of the temple portray a continuous cavalcade of intricate, richly ornamented and erotic carvings. These erotic carvings are quite similar to what Khajuraho temples are famous for. The erotic images of entwined couple, or solitary exhibitionists, can be minute images on the spoke of a temple wheel or life-size figure higher up the walls. There is also a museum containing many sculpture and carving found during the temple excavation.
Chilka Lake which is to the south of Puri is dotted with island and is noted for the many migratory birds which flock here each December and January. The shallow lake is about 70 Km in length and average 15 Km in width.