Konark Sun Temple, also known as Konark Surya Mandir, is a renowned ancient Hindu temple located in Konark, Odisha, India. It is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. The temple was built in the 13th century during the reign of King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
The temple is famous for its architectural brilliance and intricate stone carvings. It is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with 24 elaborately carved wheels and pulled by seven horses, representing the chariot of Surya. The temple was designed in such a way that the first rays of the rising sun would pass through the main entrance and illuminate the deity inside.
The main sanctum of the temple originally housed a massive image of Surya, the Sun God, which is now missing. The temple complex also includes several other structures such as the Natya Mandapa (dance hall) and the Bhoga Mandapa (offering hall). The walls of the temple are adorned with intricate sculptures depicting various scenes from mythology, celestial beings, animals, and everyday life.
Over the centuries, the temple suffered significant damage due to natural causes and invasions. It was partially in ruins when it was discovered by British surveyors in the 19th century. Extensive restoration work has been carried out since then to preserve and protect this architectural marvel.
Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the finest examples of Odishan temple architecture. It attracts numerous tourists and devotees from around the world who come to admire its grandeur and historical significance.