Konark, the architectural wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Odisha, recently became highly popular due to its significance at the G20 Summit in Delhi. The famous Konark wheel was on center stage, where the Indian Prime Minister received G20 leaders. The juxtaposition of ancient history and modern diplomacy was a sight to behold, making Konark an even more enticing destination for travelers. Here is all about Konark, its history, and why it is worth visiting.
Konark: The Jewel of India’s Heritage
Konark, popularly known as Konark Sun Temple, is a masterpiece of architecture and a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage. Built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, this outstanding temple is dedicated to the sun god, Surya. Its intricate design and exquisite carvings proudly display the ancient architecture, lifestyle, and society. Due to the unique and spectacular carvings, it has become the point of attraction for thousands of tourists worldwide.
The temple is designed as a colossal chariot with 12 pairs of intricately carved stone wheels representing the 12 months of the year. Though this temple is not at its original stage, it is completely adorned with sculptures and carvings depicting different mythology and religious motifs. In 1984, Konark Sun Temple was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Konark Wheel at G20 Summit
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the leaders of G20 countries at the Bharat Mandapam, the venue of the G20 Summit, on the backdrop of the replica of the Konark Wheel, fostering a unique fusion of history and modern diplomacy. The decision to showcase the Konark Wheel was not just about the breathtaking backdrop but also a symbol of India’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while engaging with the world.
Significance of Konark Wheel
The Konark temple was designed as a huge chariot drawn by seven horses on 12 pairs (24 wheels) of magnificently designed wheels at its base. The wheel size is 9 feet 9 inches in diameter, each with eight wider and eight thinner spokes. Out of these 24 wheels, six are on both sides of the main temple, four are on each side of the Mukhasala, and two are on each side of the steps at the eastern front.
The iconic Konark Wheel symbolizes time, “Kaalchakra,” as it holds eight wider spokes and eight thinner spokes. The distance between wider spokes is 180 minutes. Due to its astronomical significance, it has become a point of attraction for tourists worldwide. The wheel embodies India’s ancient advanced civilization, wisdom, and architectural excellence.
Why is Konark Temple worth Visiting?
Architectural Marvel – Konark is a testament to India’s rich architectural brilliance. The intricate carvings, well-preserved structures, and the awe-inspiring chariot-shaped temple make it a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
UNESCO Heritage Site– As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Konark is recognized worldwide for its cultural and historical significance.
Spiritual and Historical Significance – People interested in spirituality and history find Konark an unmissable place to visit. This temple is dedicated to Sun God and showcases the ancient architectural treasure of Odisha.
Beautiful Beach- Konark is not just about the temple but also boasts a pristine beach called Chandrabhaga along the Bay of Bengal. The fusion of cultural exploration and beach relaxation makes it a perfect destination for travelers.
Vibrant Festivals– Konark hosts the Konark Dance Festival and Sand Art Festival, attracting tourists and artists from around the world.
Konark Wheel’s recent display at the G20 Summit has added a new layer of significance to this UNESCO Heritage Site. The Golden Triangle of Odisha (Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark) are worth visiting for their rich history, culture, architecture, spiritual, unique festivals, culinary delights, art and handicraft. Whether you’re a history buff, a cultural enthusiast, a religious pilgrim, or simply seeking a relaxing beach getaway, this region offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a worthwhile destination to explore in Odisha.