UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Konark Sun Temple (କୋଣାର୍କ ସୂର୍ଯ୍ୟ ମନ୍ଦିର)
It is said that this 13th century Indian temple (located in Orissa) was built by a son of Krishna - Samba, who was cursed with leprosy for twelve years by his father. When the sun god Surya lifted the curse and affliction, Samba supposedly built this sandstone sun temple in his honor.
Legend aside, the Konark Sun Temple was built by King Narasimhadeva I, indeed, in honor of Surya. This incredibly intricately carved temple, as a whole, was built in the shape of Surya’s chariot, with twelve pairs of large stone wheels placed at the base of the structure. The wheels themselves act as sundials, and hundreds and thousands more carvings of erotic poses, animals, plants, and designs cover the pyramid in a prime example of the architectural style for which the Kalingan region is renowned for.
After the Muslim takeover of Orissa in the mid-16th century, the temple was partly destroyed and pilgrimages slowly stopped, whereafter Konark was left to the mercy of the surrounding forests for centuries. What remains today is only the base of what was possibly the tallest temple in India at the time. Konark was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1984.