Splendidly alone amidst the sand dunes which rise from the bay, the Sun Temple of Konark, also known as the Black Pagoda, is the crowning glory of the temple architecture of ancient Orissa, on the east coast of India. Centuries of myth and legend shroud its history, legends as hauntingly beautiful as the smile of the celestial musicians standing against the sky at Konark to greet the sun's first ray with drum and cymbal, flute and string.
The concept behind the architecture of the temple is striking, to say the least. The temple is created in the form of a celestial chariot of the sun god, pulled by seven exquisitely carved ornamented horses, strained on twelve wheels on either side. The huge monolithic wheels represent time, unity, completeness, justice, perfection and movement, and each wheel stands for a fortnight, and each horse a day of the week.
Although the main sanctum is in ruins, the 39-metre high audience hall, the dance hall and the ruined temple of Chhaya Devi are still there. Two horses and two monolithic elephants, exhibit the dynamism of the sculpture. A special character of the Konark temple is that the carvings cover both the inner and the outer surfaces.