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Konark Sun temple in Odisha re-opens after five months of covid closure

The Konark Sun temple was re-opened on Tuesday for visitors after being closed for five months due to covid. The temple is also called 'Black Pagoda' because it is made of black granite. Its top, which had a huge magnet weighing 52 tons, was removed as it pulled and damaged ships sailing on the sea. The temple's chariot's wheels tell the time of the day. It is a World Heritage site.

PURI, Aug 13: The Konark Sun temple in Odisha, which like other public places remained closed due to covid restrictions to control gatherings, has reopened for visitors. The timing is 10 am to 5 pm and stays open throughout the week. The temple is dedicated to Sun God.

Built in the 13th century, the Sun temple at Konark in Odisha's Puri district is a major tourist attraction. Made of black granite, it is sometimes called 'Black Pagoda', and is said to have had magnetic power once upon a time. The structure is an excellent combination of science and architecture. The temple has three gates and none on the backside. It was built by 1,200 artisans working for 12 years and living inside all through without leaving the premises even once during the period of construction.

It was re-opened on Tuesday for visitors after remaining closed for five months during the second wave of coronavirus epidemic.

Usually people from outside the State come to the temple during September to March, avoiding the extreme summer and the monsoon floods.

The ‘Konark’ word has derived its name from ‘Kona’ and ‘Arka’ that mean ‘corner’ and ‘sun.’ It is said the temple was built by King Narsingha Deva in 1250 AD to commemorate his victory over invading Muslims.

The temple is in the shape of a chariot representing the Sun God’s chariot, has 24 wheels and is pulled by seven horses. The seven horses represent the seven days of the week and the 24 wheels the 24 hours of a day. The shadows on the spokes of the chariot's wheels tell the time of the day. The rays of the sun at dawn, noon and sunset fall on three idols installed at three places.

It is said that the temple had a huge magnet at its top and that caused ship wrecks. Because of its pulling power, the ships would dash against the shore and damage. Therefore the top was dismantled.

The temple was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

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