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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Quick Stopover at Konark

[Continued from Here]

The next morning dawned bright and sunny. After a nice breakfast and a little sweet indulgence, we started exploring the town on foot. We were surprised to find that ghettos exist even among tourists that flock the city. While the boisterous Bengali crowd prefers the seaside hotels, the foreigners prefer to stay a bit away from the seas. One can easily make this out by looking up the hotels names in a particular area. Hotels like Dada-Boudir hotel, Rupasi Bangla and Sonar Bangla cater to the Bengali crowd while the foreigners prefer hotels like Derby, Richmond, and Marrion. The latter section of the city is the right place to pick up some really nice junk jewelry though the prices quoted are a little high.

All the walking really tired us and we duly returned to the beach for a quick rest. Around 1 pm, we started back to out homestay and picked our luggage. The vehicle that was to take us to Puri and finally drop us at BBSR had arrived. With the bags already packed, we started promptly. The drive took us through the Chandrabhaga Forest Reserve (home to lots of deers), the picturesque Puri-Konark Marine Drive, Ramachandi (Temple) and the awesome Chandrabhaga beach. With a heavy meal at one of the numerous hotels that line the stretch of the Marine Drive, I was lulled into a state of inaction. That is the only excuse I have for not capturing any pictures of this awesome stretch. The Chandrabhaga beach with its pristine white sands and awesome blue waters has got to be one of the prettiest beaches of India but with dangerous currents in this area is mostly avoided by the tourists.

We reached Konark just a little after 3. This 13th century temple built by King Langula Narasimha Deva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With most of it now in ruins, whatever structure that remains standing to this day bears testimony to the great architecture marvel that it must have been. The major part of this structure is made up of Khandalite, a ferrous rich stone (with reddish appearance) that has been proposed as the major reason behind its collapse. The other stone used is Chlorite ( blackish color), which is mainly employed for door frames, some intricate carvings and a few idols. Some snaps of the temple:

The main structure that remains, it was filled up with sand by the ASI to prevent any further collapse.

Two of the twelve wheels of the elaborate chariot of the Sun God, after which the temple is modeled.

The beautiful and intricate carvings that adorn the walls. Even though most of it is eroded, it still manages to take one's breath away.

After spending about two hours exploring the temple and happily posing for the family album, we decided to head back to our vehicle which was parked quite a distance away. The trip back to BBSR was uneventful and took a little more than an hour. Thus came to an end our short yet memorable Puri-Konark trip.

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