Dedicated to Sun God, Konark Sun Temple is located at Konark in Puri district
which is 35 kilometers from Puri and 64km from Bhubaneswar. Built in 13th
century (1250 AD) by Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty, Konark
Sun Temple is a magnificent example of ancient Orissan temple architecture.
Carved out of black stone, the temple also known as the Black Pagoda was
declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984. Konark Sun Temple
is constructed in the shape of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited
horses on 24 elegantly decorated wheels, carrying the sun god, Surya, across
the heavens. The vast temple complex consists a Deula, a Jagamohana
(Audience hall), Bhoga Mandap (Dining Hall) and pillared Natamandapa (Dancing
Hall). The exquisite natyamandap is an architectural wonder, with
well-adorned sculptures in Odissi dance poses, often expressed as poetry
transcribed on stone. An open air auditorium with the temple as the backdrop,
is the venue of the Konark Festival, a major dance festival held annually
in early December which showcases a magical parade of the classical and
traditional dance forms of India.