Ancient India is full of stories about incredible places that exist and are a part of the country. The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha is one such destination. This 700-year-old temple is surrounded by many stories and mysteries. Changes in time, cities being distorted and rebuilt, kingdoms rising and falling, and identities being washed away have all occurred at the temple. The mysteries of Konark Sun Temple are surrounded by fascinating myths, and folklore, both solved and unsolved. From the secrets behind the closed entrance of the temple to the ghostly spirits of the dancers from more than a century ago, the temple is home to a lot of fascinating mysteries.
The History of the Temple
According to Abul Fazl, the renowned court historian of Akbar, the Sun Temple was built during the reign of King Narasimha I (1238-1264 AD) on a sprawling 12-acre patch close to the Bay of Bengal by spending the entire revenue of the kingdom for 12 years (1556-1605 AD). Though the temple is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and much of the structure has deteriorated, it remains one of India’s most popular temples. The structure was constructed out of black granite and took 12 years to complete. The temple is renowned for its artistic splendour and engineering prowess. According to experts, it was designed to allow the first rays of sunlight to fall on the main entrance. Even today, the rays of the sun falling on the wheels that serve as sundials can be used to tell the time. Click to read the comprehensive travel guide from Konark temple and other relevant information about Konark sun temple.
The many mysteries of the Konark Sun Temple
There are hundreds of ancient magnificent temples in India which are unmatched structures and beautiful that surprise today’s modern engineering and science, among them is the mysteries of Konark Sun temple, which is extremely intriguing. The Temple door has been closed for over 118 years. Here are a few perspectives that will help shed light on the mysteries of the Konark Sun Temple:
The Temple where the deity is not worshipped
The Konark Sun Temple is not worshipped because King Narasimhadeva set a deadline for the temple’s construction, which was missed by Dadhi Nauti, putting the lives of 1200 workers and the chief architect, Bishu Maharana, in jeopardy. So, all of a sudden, a small boy named Dharmapada appears, claiming to be the son of Bishu Maharana and taking responsibility for saving the lives of 1200 workers. To save the lives of 1200 workers, he jumped from the top of the temple into the Chandrabhaga River to change the king’s ego. People believe that the 12-year-old was the Sun god himself, and worship rituals have not been performed in the Konark temple since.
The Mystery of the Sun Temple’s Magnets and the Floating Idol
One of the most fascinating aspects of this temple was that the sun idol was suspended in the air due to the use of magnets in its construction. As you entered the main temple, you’d notice a tall idol suspended in mid-air. It was a mystery for years as to how this happened. People were unaware that it was the magnetic field from all four sides that caused this to occur. However, this also resulted in the idol’s removal. Although this has not been proven historically, many experts believe that a 52-ton weight stone known as “Lodestone” was installed inside this temple and served as a natural magnet.
Because of this “Lodestone” huge magnet, the idol of Lord Surya installed inside the Konark sun temple was always hanging in the air, which was nothing short of a miracle in and of itself. Different people now tell different stories about what happened to this magnet and where it is now. The most popular theory is that this temple was originally located on the seashore, but as time passed, the seawater level decreased and this temple was relocated several kilometres away from the coast.
Legends behind the Collapse of the Structure
According to one legend, the lodestone’s magnetic pull was so strong that it caused disturbances in the compasses of ships passing through the area. This would have made navigation more difficult for sailors. According to legend, Portuguese sailors took this magnet and the idol of Lord Sun God from the temple with them to save their ships, which led to the exit of the Konark Sun Temple magnet.
It is also said that Sulaiman Khan Karrani, an Afghan Muslim ruler of Bengal, attempted to conquer Orissa but was forced to agree to a truce after the battle of Tribeni. He realised that unless he could defeat Rajib Lochan Ray or Kalachand Roy Bhadury, his ambition to conquer Orissa would never be realised. Rajib, also known as Kalachand, was the Bengali Hindu General of Gajapati Mukundadeva, the last emperor of the Kalinga-Utkala empire. Following the battle of Tribeni, Sulaiman devised a strategy and invited Rajib Lochan to his palace to negotiate a peace treaty. Rajib Lochan met and fell in love with Sulaiman’s beautiful daughter in the palace.
In fact, Sulaiman set up the meeting as part of his plan to capture the brave man. As soon as he realised Rajib was drawn to his daughter’s beauty, he proposed that he convert to Islam and marry his daughter. However, Rajib proposed that the girl converts to Hinduism so that he could marry her. Sulaiman agreed, but Hindu Pundits strongly opposed the idea, claiming that conversion to Hinduism is illegal. Their decision enraged Rajib, and he eventually converted to Islam, married a Muslim girl, and launched a furious attack on Orissa under the guise of ‘Kalapahad.’ According to Orissa’s history, he invaded Orissa in 1568, forcibly converted thousands of Hindus to Muslims, and destroyed several Hindu temples, including the magnificent temple of Konark.
According to some experts, the temple could have been damaged by a strong earthquake, thunder, or lightning. However, there is no evidence of such a massive earthquake occurring in the area. Furthermore, no thunder or lightning could have penetrated the temple walls, which are 20-25 feet thick.
There are no actual historical records to support any of the aforementioned hypotheses, and the true cause of the temple’s main structure’s destruction remains unknown. It may never be restored to its original state, regardless of who or what caused it.
Is the Konark Sun Temple Haunted?
The legend or mystery tale goes that many devadasis used to spend the night inside the temple halls before or after their performances. As a result, when the Portuguese sailors attacked the temple in an attempt to remove the magnet, they collapsed the majority of the structure. Several devadasis, or dancer girls, were killed during the destruction.
Locals in town or nearby areas will tell you that when the Sun God sleeps or the sun sets in Konark, people nearby the temple or inside the area can hear voices of a few girls talking, the sound of their ghungroos as they seem to run past you or somewhere in the ruins. Some visitors who were on the premises late at night claim to have seen floating girls running away while laughing in a spooky whispery voice.
Even after numerous detailed studies and research, the mystery of the Konark Sun Temple remains unsolved and tangled. This only leaves you with the option of visiting the location, experiencing the grandeur of the Temple, admiring the beauty around you, and returning with your theory about what would have happened. While all the myths and studies try to fall into place and align in harmony, you can simply admire the aesthetic rendition and magnificent craftsmanship performed on the stones of the temple.
Best time to visit
Being a coastal town, the weather in Konark is the most delightful during winter. Therefore, the most suitable time to visit this place is from September to March, i.e. winter. Summers in Konark are exceptionally hot and humid, and you must avoid reaching here during this time.
How to reach
Konark Sun Temple is situated in the Puri district, roughly 60 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. Konark is a well-known tourist spot owing to the magnificent Sun Temple, and thus it remains well-connected to Bhubaneswar and Puri by trains, buses, and taxis. Here are some reliable ways to reach the temple.
The Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar is around 65 km and roughly an hour-long drive from the Temple. Upon reaching, you can hire a Bhubaneswar airport taxi to reach your destination.
The well-built roads of Odisha present exceptional transportation services for travellers. So if you wish to take the road route to the temple, you can reach your destination by booking a cab in Konark or a bus facility.
Puri Railway Station is the closest railway station to the Konark Temple, roughly 30 km away. You can take Bhubaneswar to Puri trains and then book a cab to reach the temple.
Now that you know all about the mysteries of the Temple, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to plan your trip! Soak in the glory by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install the Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.