Konark Sun Temple – India is a country with many exquisite temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Durga and many more. Did you know that our country also has temples dedicated to Sun? We have more than 12 sun temples in our country, amongst which the Konark temple and Sun temple at Modhera are the most remarkable ones.
The Konark sun temple is a world heritage site, settled close to the smart city of Bhubaneswar. The ancient masterpiece was built in 1250 AD and is designed as a gigantic chariot. Further, it is designed as the chariot which is being pulled by 7 horses.
The sun temple depicts an impressive architectural style of Odisha and amongst the most visited places of the state. Precisely for this very reason, I shortlisted this tourist attraction for my husband’s first trip to Bhubaneswar.
KONARK TRIP RIGHT AFTER MY WEDDING?
It was the year 2013, when both our parents (mine and my in-laws) gave approval to our relationship. Like every Indian bride, even I had specific dreams regarding my wedding. From selecting a stunning wedding lehenga to set up a welcoming Mehandi night; Each detailing felt so important, that I nearly forgot the pain of departing from my favorite city of Delhi. (As my husband was working in a different city, I had to relocate with him)
But sometimes bad news comes handy with some happy moments. Just before the week of my wedding, my father fell on the floor during one of his physio session. He had survived from a brain stroke a few years ago that made him one side paralyzed. With a heavy heart, both my parents had to cancel their tickets, which meant a wedding without my parent’s presence.
& THE SAD NEWS
I was devastated, but they didn’t want to call off or postpone the wedding. So we executed the main event in the presence of my siblings and all my close relatives. Without my parents, my D day felt no more special. However, I was marrying the man who stole my heart and ruining his special day would not have been fair. Anyways, to seek the blessings of my parents, we decided to visit them in Bhubaneswar.
Like most of the Hindu families, even we believe in visiting a famous temple on every auspicious occasion. Similarly, in Odisha also we prefer to visit the world-renowned Jagganath Puri temple. Now, A Puri visit excluding the highly popular Konark temple looked so incomplete that we didn’t give a second thought to plan a trip.
& THE PLANNING PART
To add some extra fun and obviously to boast about the incredible places of Bhubaneswar; I decided to add 3 main tourist destination (Konark , Puri and Dhauligiri) in our travel itinerary. I wished to add a few additional tourist destinations too, but we were on a time crunch. We could only sneak out 2 days for our Bhubaneswar tour that reserved the second day for Dhauligiri.
WHY COULDN’T WE PLAN A WEDDING AT BHUBANESWAR?
You may wonder why didn’t we schedule the wedding in Bhubaneswar instead of Delhi? Well! As I mentioned earlier, mine is a love marriage, and like most of the Indian parents, even our parents had their views on why this relationship won’t last long.
After our Shirdi visit, me and my two friends went to an awesome place called SULA VINEYARD. I met my guy accidentally here, where (Nashik) he was doing some official course. This might sound crazy but we chatted the entire night, (2 friends of mine and 3 friends of his) and I had to postpone my Mumbai trip for the next day.
It felt like the universe wanted us to meet. We almost missed catching the train and somehow hopped inside the running train with all our luggage. I don’t know if I was trying to act like Kareena Kapoor of Jab We Met that time? After our Shirdi darshan, I hesitantly went to the vineyard but destiny had some better plans for me. We didn’t even wait for a year to spill the beans and did expect many heated arguments for days.
He belongs to UP and me from the eastern part of the country. It triggered a plethora of questions like different cultures, status, caste, eating habits and my god the list is long. But there is a saying in Hindi, “Jab miya biwi razi toh kya karega kaazi.” His parents got convinced (his sisters, uncles and aunts played a huge role) and finally, the wedding date was fixed.
Since my father was bedridden so I couldn’t get the courage to plan a wedding in Bhubaneswar (as I was not aware of that place so well). Instead chose Delhi where I stayed and worked for 7-8 years.
ROAD TRIP TO THE KONARK SUN TEMPLE
We decided to push off early in the morning around 8 am and began our first road trip together. We booked us a nice comfortable private taxi that took us to the mesmeric sun temple.
It took nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes and by 9:30 we were already wandering inside the premises of the black pagoda. The roads were pretty decent, that made our journey quite comfortable. Unlike me, my husband loves to explore the ancient architectural marvels of our country. He is a travel enthusiast and any place that has stories to tell, make my husband to fall dotty with it.
Let me be honest here; I genuinely had a little apprehension about this historical masterpiece. What if, it doesn’t appeal to him? What if, he finds the place not so attractive?
As I visited this place long back in my school days, so didn’t have any memories. Other than what I read in my school books, I didn’t have any slightest idea about this glorious creation. So, this trip was equally important to me. You can also check our article on a complete guide of Konark Temple to get some more insights on its significance and history.
FELL IN LOVE WITH THE ARCHITECTURAL STYLE
The exquisite carvings done on the chariots and the erotic sex symbols embedded on the walls of the temple were the highlights. Depicting the ancient Kalinga (now Odisha) architecture, the Konark sun temple is a photographers delight. The tourist love this place for its originality and its beautiful sculptures and carvings. Although most of the part of the temple has turned into ruins, it is still a top-rated tourist destination in Odisha.
The Konark temple is dedicated to the Sun God, however no deities are placed inside the building. On the other hand, the marvellous edifice takes you to the world of art and creativity. The historical monument screams a lot of stories that are hidden in its womb.
DISAPPOINTED WITH THE COMMERCIALISATION
After the sightseeing of Konark, our eyes glued on a Navagrah (nine planets) temple very close to the sun temple. Since prayers and lighting of diyas are not allowed in the Konark temple, most of the devotees offer their prayers in this temple. Just before you wonder the need of visiting any temple in your holiday, let me introduce you to Odisha. Odisha folks are super religious and thus have turned Bhubaneswar into a city of temples.
It was a small temple, and hence the less number of devotees were also looking like a crowd. After a quiet prayer, while exiting from the main door, a temple priest demanded donation money. Either he thought we do not belong to that part of the state or found us an easy catch. It was a shock for both of us the way he pestered us to give some amount of donation.
I nowhere want to criticize the priests over here and simply sharing our personal experience. My husband got really disturbed by the money minting idea in the name of God. To lighten his mood, we picked a few gifts from the stalls available outside the temple and went to a nearby restaurant to grab some mid time snacks.
ENTRY TICKETS AND TIMINGS
The sun temple is open on all days from 6 am to 8 pm and costs 40 Rs per Indian traveller. For international visitors, the ticket costs around 600 Rs. There are separate tickets for the one hour light and sound show. It takes place in the evening around 7 pm and costs Rs 30. Headsets are given to the visitors to listen to the story in their preferred language of English, Hindi, or Odia.
NEXT CHANDRABAGHA BEACH
After capturing the aesthetic beauty of Konark, we headed towards the beach that stole our heart by its tranquillity. One of the cleanest beaches of Odisha, Chandrabagha beach is an ideal place to surrender to mother nature. The beach is located at a distance of 2 km from Konark temple and falls on route of Puri.
The pristine beach is not that commercialized so one could get ample privacy and enough house to stroll. By now, I could see the immense joy in his eyes and to be honest that made me so happy. However, we highly regret of leaving before the sunset, which would have given us some spectacular views. Just a word of caution that the beach usually throws strong and high waves which, makes swimming little risky.
Before bidding goodbye to this gorgeous beach, we quenched our thirst with the coconut water sold at the nearest shop. The roads looked smooth and well-maintained, but we were still dreaming about the incredibly serene beach. Gazing at the sneak peek of the beach and lush green forest, we enjoyed the rest of our road journey.
ANNUAL KONARK FESTIVAL
A quiet beach on regular days, witnesses a massive flow of tourists during the international sand art festival. The festival happens every year in December. Various sand artists across the world, showcase their art on the sandy beach, which allures the art lovers the most.
Additionally, the beach has also gained his popularity due to its annual Konark festival that happens in December. It gives a platform to many established dance artists to perform different forms of dance forms, including Odishi, Kathak, etc.
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CONTINUED OUR ROAD JOURNEY TO PURI
After an hour’s drive and covering a distance of 35 km (approx), we reached the most visited place of Odisha. Puri is one of the oldest city of the state and is also considered as the holiest town. As it was the first trip after our marriage, we went to meet my aunt’s (mom’s sister) family before heading for the Jagganath Puri temple.
After enjoying a quick lunch, we stepped forward for the main temple. We were accompanied by a panda, (brahmins working inside the temple) who happened to be my uncle’s friend.
OUR FIRST CHAAR DHAAM DARSHAN
The Puri Panda showed us the mega kitchen, where the scrumptious meal is cooked every day for the Lord Jagganath. The meal consists of 108 dishes and is prepared in the Earthern pots. He also explained to us the importance of various corners and deities of the temple.
The Jagganath Puri temple is one amongst the chaar dhaam teerth (four pilgrimage sites) and is located at Puri. The temple is home to many Indian Gods and Goddesses; primarily the abode of Lord Jagganath and his siblings. The temple has many mysterious stories, that you could find in one of our previous article on Jagganath Puri – A complete guide.
After an enchanting darshan, it was the time to dive into another popular destination of Puri, which was the Puri beach. We had lunch at our aunt’s place; however, there are many hotels and restaurants near the Puri beach as well as the temple. In case you wish to eat nonveg during your trip then do check out the beachside hotels.
WENT WILD IN PURI BEACH
Since morning we were embracing the serenity, but this was the time to go wild and loosen up. After the stressful wedding preparations, the beach just felt right to get indulged in the fun activities. Unlike Chandrabagha beach, Puri beach was crammed with thousands of tourists coming from all over the country.
I made him try all the street foods of our state and he liked a few of them. (He is a fussy eater anyway, so let me not blame my street foods) We didn’t try the elephant rides but we had so much fun there.
SHOPPING EXPERIENCE AT PIPLI
We ended our trip by picking up a few souvenirs for our families and boarded our cab after the sunset. Coming to Puri and not stopping at the Pipli village is so disappointing. The place is popular for selling handicrafts and various handwork materials that are worth to add in your home décor. Keeping the tradition of shopping alive, I too grabbed a few things to add in my new home.
While coming back from Pipli, our car suddenly stopped. The unexpected halt at the midway switched on my panic button. Thankfully, my uncle arranged another car that took almost 30-40 minutes, but eventually, we reached our home safe. The day started with a bang, unfortunately, had to witness a terrible end.
HOW TO REACH
The capital city of Odisha has a well-connected airport as well as a railway station for the travelers. After reaching Bhubaneswar, tourists can either hire a private taxi for a round trip or can use a bus. In case of buses, one has to reach the Baramunda bus station to get the buses for Puri and Konark.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Due to the hot and humid climate, the summers in Bhubaneswar is not very suitable for traveling. The ideal time to visit these wonderful places would be between August to early March.
Road trips always add an extra oomph to our travel stories and make them more exclusive. Even though, we get to experience a few mishaps sometimes; it usually makes the travel journey enjoyable. From the crowded urban city to a stretch of forests and beaches is what you get from this road trip. Do try to explore every bit of it and make your vacation worthwhile.
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