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Konark

Konark is a small town in the state of Orissa, India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometres from Bhubaneswar. It is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is a World Heritage Site. It takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The entire complex was designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels. The entrance is guarded by two lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body. The temple symbolises the majestic stride of the Sun god. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata Mandir. This is where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns. There are also human, divine and semi-divine figures in sensuous poses. The poses contains couples in various amorous poses, and are derived from the Kama Sutra. The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: "here the language of stone surpasses the language of man."

Konark is also home to an annual dance festival, held every December, devoted to classical Indian dance forms, including the traditional classical dance of Orissa, odissi.

On February 16, 1980, Konark lay directly on the path of a total solar eclipse.

Konark beach is a popular tourist destination, though the waters are deceptively calm. Its main attraction lies in its views of the temple.

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