Trip to Orissa: Day 2 (Part 1): Chandrabhaga Beach, Chandrabhaga River, Sun Temple at Konark, Shiva Temple at Dhauli Hill (Dhauligiri), River Daya, Shanti Stupa at Dhauli Hill (Dhauligiri)

You can see the Day 1 of the Orissa trip. I am breaking Day 2 to three parts as it was a long day and we traveled to many places. This is the Part 1:

At 8 am Prabhakar came to the hotel and gave us the 3 tickets for Rs. 390. He also told that there is a trip next day to Chilka Lake but we were not having time as the next day we have to leave for Bhilai. So I thought that I would visit Chilka Lake the next time I come to Orissa. After some time the bus came and I thanked him for his help. If you want his contact number just send me an email. It was a normal bus and there was a guide, which was impressive in his communication skills. He greeted everyone and started giving the information on how the trip is scheduled. He told that we need to pay some money for the entry tickets in Konark and other places and asked Rs. 20 per head for his services. He gave us an option that we can collect the tickets from the places or we can give him collectively the amount. I gave the amount to him to avoid any waste of time at the places. He also told that they will provide limited time to see the spots and if the tourists don’t come back they will wait for 10 minutes more and after that the bus will leave. Fair enough, I can understand that because we need to cover many places in limited time. After 10 inutes of drive we were in the Marine drive of Puri, as it is called. Our first spot was Chandrabhaga beach. It is located 30 kms. from Puri and is close to Sun temple. The guide gave us 15 minutes to check out this place. However, that was not enough but still I managed to click some nice shots:

Chandrabhaga Beach

Its an amazing beach and considered as one of the finest beaches in eastern India. The main enticement of the beach is its solitude. You can also take a horse ride or a camel ride over there. Just 100 meters from the sea lies the ancient Chandrabhaga River. Now, you can only see a small pond in place of the river:

Chandrabhaga River

But still people believe in its cleansing powers, they gather here in large numbers for the Chandrabhaga Fair in Magha Saptami(January-February). The roots of this festival are traced to a mythical tale wherein Shambhu, the son of Lord Krishna, trespassed into the chamber of his parents when they were in a state of private bliss. Upon this, Krishna cursed his son with leprosy. Since the punishment was too acute for such an inadvertent act by Shambhu, Narad took pity on him and instructed him to seek a cure at the Chandrabhaga River. The place where Shambhu is said to have meditated and worshipped the sun God after ablutions in the river for twelve years has become a sacred spot possessing curative properties.

For more photos of Chandrabhaga beach, click here

Then, we got in to the bus and went to see the next spot, which was the world famous Sun temple at Konark also spelled as “Konarak” or “Konaraka”, Kona meaning corner and ARKA meaning the Sun. The Sun temple (a.k.a Black Pagoda) was built in Orissa red sandstone (Khandolite) and black granite. It is located 5 kms. away from the Chandrabhaga beach. The temple has thousands of images including deities, the Surasundaris, heavenly damsels, and human musicians, lovers, dancers, and different scenes from courtly life. Some of the sculptures were also inspired by Kamasutra. The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture, and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world:

Sun Temple, Konark

The entrance is guarded by two lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant:

Lion crushing a war elephant

The history of the Sun temple goes like this: In 13th century King Narasimha Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty had ordered the temple to be built as a symbol of political supremacy of his dynasty. He gave order to a workforce of twelve hundred skilled artisans and architects to construct the temple in 12 years and he spent an amount equal over 12 years of the tax collections. After 12 years when still the construction was incomplete the king was angry and issued an ultimatum that the work should be completed by a stipulated date with dire consequences otherwise. The team of architects headed by Bisu Maharana was unable to produce a solution to their architectural problem. Dharmapada, the young son of the chief architect Bisu Maharana, arrived there and came to know about the problem. Although he did not have any practical experience of temple construction, he offered a solution to the problem of fixing the last stone at the top of the temple. He surprised everyone by doing that himself. It is said that soon after his achievement he jumped from the top of the temple and committed suicide to save the life of twelve hundred workers. Today nobody worships in the temple and no priests chant their prayers.

The temple was believed to be supported by two magnets with the poles placed in such a way that the throne of the king was suspended in mid-air. The magnets were so powerful that the compass gave a wrong direction and the ships sailing in the nearby sea were misguided. It is believed that the magnets were stolen and that caused the temple to crumble.

Another speciality of the sun temple is the wheels. The temple was built like a chariot of Sun god. There are 24 wheels fixed to the temple, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. The 24 wheels signify 24 hours of a day and the 8 spokes signifies prahars (three hour period) of a day. Our guide told us that the shadows formed by these spokes gives the precise time of the day. He also showed us how to calculate the time of the day with the use of the shadows:

Wheel

There are three superb life-size statues of the sun god, done in green chlorite:

Statue of Sun God

Then, we moved to the other side of the temple called The Bhoga Mandapa (porch). It is believed to have once been the Natya Mandir (dance hall):

Natya Mandir

For more photos of the Sun Temple, click here

The, we went to the lunch in a nearby restaurant. You can get vegetarian meals over there and I ordered a Gujrati meal. After the lunch we hurried towards our bus as the time was over. Our guide told that the next place was Dhauli Hill (Dhauligiri). It was a couple of hours drive to Dhauli as it is near to Bhubaneswar. Dhauli hill is famous for Shiva temple and Shanti Stupa. The Shiva temple is called as Dhavalesvara:

Shiva Temple, Dhauli

For more photos of Shiva Temple, click here

We saw a river from the top of the hill called the River Daya. Daya River, a tributary of Mahanadi , flows through the districts of Khordha and Puri in Orissa in India. The river looks very beautiful from the top:

River Daya

This river has got historical significance. The history goes like this: The Kalinga war began in the 8th year of Ashoka’s reign, probably in either 265 or 264 BC. Ashoka’s father Bindusara had previously attempted to conquer Kalinga, but had been repulsed. After a bloody battle for the throne after Bindusara’s death, Ashoka tried to annex Kalinga. He was successful only after a savage war, whose consequences changed Ashoka’s views on war and led him to pledge never to wage a war. It is said that in the aftermath of the Battle of Kalinga the Daya River running next to the battle field turned red with the blood of the slain; about 100,000 Kalinga civilians and more than 10,000 of Ashoka’s own warriors were among those slain. Ashoka had seen the bloodshed with his own eyes. He saw over two hundred sins and felt that he was the cause of the destruction. The Kalinga war was a turning point in his life. Deeply distressed, he gave up war and sought peace in Buddhist teachings of love and non-violence. It was Dhauli Hill where Emperor Ashoka, full of remorse renounced his bloodthirsty campaign and embraced Buddhism.

The other side of the hill has Shanti Stupa(Peace Pagoda), at the top of Dhauli Hill, built by Indo Japanese collaboration in 1972, standing in the form of a massive dome with lotus petals as its crown. The five umbrellas placed on its flattened top represent five important aspects of Buddhism:

Shanti Stupa, Dhauli

We found many stone panels comprise of the bodhi tree, footprints of Buddha bearing the chakra (wheel) etc. Also there are statues of Lord Buddha including sleeping Buddha and meditating Buddha:

Meditating Buddha

For more photos of Shanti Stupa, click here


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