Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda) at Konark, in Odisha, India. It was supposedly built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250. It has been built in the shape of a gigantic chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most stunning monuments of religious significance, a true masterpiece of architecture proudly stands in the form of Sun Temple at Konark. A culmination of Oriya architecture, the temple is a wonderful place as the language of stone defeats the human language here. Built in 13th century by King Narasimhadeva, the temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels, carrying the sun god, Surya, across heavens.
Located at a manageable distance from the seat of Lord Jagannath, Puri at 35 kms; the temple is around 65 kms from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. The name of Konark temple is an amalgamation of two words–Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the Sun. That is to say that the Sun god worshipped in Ark Kshetra is called Konark. Legend says that after killing the demon Gyasur, Lord Vishnu placed his belongings at several places to commemorate the victory. With His conch at Puri, Disc in Bhubaneshwar and Mace in Jajapur; He placed the Lotus at Konark.
The name Konark derives from the combination of the Sanskrit words, Kona (corner) and Arka (sun), in reference to the temple which was dedicated to the Sun god Surya. The temple being an important landmark in the coastal voyage of European sailors was named ‘The Black Pagoda’ by them. The mythological reference states that Lord Krishna’s son Samba was smitten with leprosy due to his father’s curse. The former underwent severe penance for 12 years at Mitravana near the confluence of Chandrabhaga River with the sea at Konark and ultimately succeeded in pleasing the God Surya, the healer of all skin diseases, and was cured of his illness. In gratitude, he decided to erect a temple in the honor of Surya.
It is also featured on NDTV’s list of Seven Wonders of India and Times of India’s list of Seven Wonders of India.