Orissa Travelogue – Day 3

11 Oct

We woke up early this morning. 4.45 am to be precise. This was almost a miracle in our standards! But we were girls with a mission. We wanted to see the sun rise. We thought that Konark being on the eastern side of India, the sun rise can be best viewed from here. We went and set up our cameras on the beach-side and waited.DSC01899
But alas, there was no sun. Rather, daylight was here but no sun in sight. I guess we got our geography and calculations all wrong but nevertheless we then went back to our cozy beds and slept for a precious more 2 hours :).
The complimentary buffet breakfast at the resort was decent and we then checked out and headed to the renowned Sun Temple at Konark. As we got out of the car, a tour guide approached us and we decided to go ahead with him so that we understand the dynamics of the Sun Temple better. DSC01935This is basically a huge structure built in the 13th century by the ruling King, Narasimhadeva at that time. It was originally shaped in the form of a chariot having 12 wheels each depicting the months of the year. However, the temple is mostly in ruins today but the crux of what the architects were trying to depict is still very evident. Each of the wheels have 8 spokes which means that each day is divided into 8 parts of 3 hours each.
In fact on one particular wheel, one can even see the time based on the rays of the sun which fall on the wheel and its accurate to the minute! In one of the older versions of the Rs. 20 note that we all use, a picture of one of these chakras has been inscribed. Overall it was an extremely beautiful structure showing different parts of social life at that time, ranging from women getting ready, elders leaving for pilgrimages after blessing youngsters, animals prevailing at that time etc.
After seeing around, we sat under the shade of a tree for a while just watching the people go by.
We then headed back to the car and had a quick stop at the Chandrabagha beach and the Archealogical Museum of Konark which houses some of the broken sculptures of the Konark temple.
Our driver then insisted we stop at a place called ‘Nature Camp’. There was nothing to do there and we werent sure why he got us there. Moreover, it started raining at that point and so we just sat on some chairs and looked at the greenary around. Later our driver signalled us to leave and told us that they had planned for us to have a traditional Oriya meal there, but since that place was closed, his plan didn’t work out!
From there, we directly headed to the temple town of Puri and checked into Hotel Naren Palace which happens to be a Country Club property. We had a quick lunch at the restaurant in its basement and then headed to the room for a short nap which was very relaxing after the whole day’s activities amidst the scorching sun. In the evening, we headed to the renowned Puri Jagannath Mandir which is one of the ‘Chaar Dhaam’ or the 4 holy places to visit in ones lifetime. It was extremely crowded as it was a holiday, but we did manage to get a glimpse of the Gods – Jagannath (or Krishna), Balram and their sister, Subhadra. The speciality of these idols are that they are made of wood and have to be changed every 12 years. There was lot of prasad being offered and we had 2 items, one in the form of buttermilk and other a sweet dish. After struggling in all the crowd to get out of the temple, we shopped for a few stuff for folks back home and then headed back to the hotel, fully drenched in sweat!
After a warm bath and light dinner, we were totally exhausted and just fell onto our beds.



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