Konark, famous for the historical Sun Temple, is a small town located on the coast by the Bay of Bengal in the Puri district of Odisha state. It is about 70 Kilometers from the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. The town is famous for the Sun Temple built in 13th Century, during the reign of Narasimhadeva-I.
Enlisted as a World Heritage Site, the Sun Temple houses a gigantic chariot of Surya, the Sun God, with twelve pairs of ornamented wheels, few of them 3 meters wide, pulled by seven horses, six of the seven horses stand even today. This temple, which is now mostly in ruins, was built in Black Granite and houses a collection of historical sculptures in the Sun Temple Museum.
The temple, belonging to the Kaligan School of Indian architecture and aligned along the East-West direction, was ruined by an envoy of Jahangir in the early 17th century. The inner sanctum or vimana placed on top of tower or shikars was also completely destroyed in the 19th century. The audience hall or jagamohana still stands and comprises majority of the ruins. The roof of the dance hall or natmandir which had fallen off now stands at the eastern end of the ruins on a raised platform.
Konark is also famous for the Konark Dance Festival, the most exciting dance event of the country which is held from 1st to 5th December every year in the amphitheatre and includes the traditional classical dance of Odisha, Odissi.
This dance festival highlights Indian’s composite culture through live dance performances by eminent classical dancers of India who get together every year to perform live in the open air auditorium with the Sun Temple at the back drop. This live performance in Indian Classical Dances of Odissi, Bharat Natyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chhow Dance reverberates the surroundings with music and is a lavish feast for the eyes and ears.