This small sea-side town was an important ancient port and is now world-renowned for the majestic Sun Temple – a World Heritage Site of UNESCO and a charming beach. Sun Temple: The magnificent shrine built by Ganga king Narasimha Deva – I in 1278, is the crowning glory of Orissan temple architecture. According to Rabindranath Tagore – ‘here the language of stone surpasses the language of man’. The massive structure was designed as a celestial chariot of the Sun-god, with twelve pairs of exquisitely carved wheels, drawn by seven horses. The 24 wheels are said to represent the fortnights of the year; the eight spokes in each wheel, the ancient division of the day and night into eight equal parts and the seven horses, are the seven days of the week. The temple was originally set on the beach and the sea waves almost touched its base, but now the elegant ruins of the temple are located amidst drifting sand, about 2 kms. from the sea. It is said that 1200 architects toiled for 12 years to create this magnificent structure. The 227 feet high main shikhara (tower) which is now collapsed, was visible from far out at sea and the shrine was known as the ‘Black Pagoda’ by sailors, in contrast to the whitewashed Jagannath temple at Puri. At the base of the collapsed tower were three subsidiary shrines, which had steps leading to the Surya images. The main sanctum is in ruins but the Nata Mandira (hall of dance), which remains in front of the temple and Audience Hall is intact. Of the 22 subsidiary temples which once stood within the enclosure, only two have survived – the Vaishnava and the Mayadevi Temple. On either side of the main temple are colossal figures of royal elephants and horses. The ornately carved temple also depicts aspects of life during the 13th century and is famous for erotic art.
Museum: This museum of Archaeological Survey of India lies just outside the temple enclosure. It exhibits sculptures and carvings recovered from the Sun temple.
Konark Beach: It is one of the most attractive beaches in the country. Konark Dance Festival: This famous festival is held in early December and attracts eminent dancers from all over the country.
Chaurasi (30 kms.) It is well known for the shrines ofAmareswar, Laxminarayan, and Barahi. Pipli(23 kms.) It is famous for handicrafts known as “Appliquework”. Beautiful bedspreads, cushion covers, bags, wall hangings, umbrellas, etc. are prepared using this artwork.