One of the stunning monuments of religious significance, Konark also known as the “Arka Tirtha” rightly finds mention in the World Heritage List as a monument of World importance. The structure is obviously the most visited temple of Orissa. The entire structure has been conceived and designed as a massive chariot of Sun God with twenty four huge wheels being drawn by seven horses. Great pairs of large intricately carved wheels were carved on both sides of the 4m high platform that the temple is on. There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the temple. Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day while others compare it with the 12 months of a year. The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week. There is a dancing hall here, an audience hall and high tower. The main tower which, has since collapsed, was 220ft (70 m) high. The Jagmohan (porch) is over 120 feet (39 m) high and is filled in and fortified with rocks to it from collapsing. Both the tower and porch were built on a high platform. The temple is covered with many intricately carved sculptures.
The most popular Orissa Temple has been set at the centre of a spacious courtyard enclosed by a compound wall and subsidiary shrines and structures. The temple complex consists of broken deula and jagamohana on a raised pista or platform, fashioned as the lower part of the chariot. The jagamohana (about 121 feet high) has a three tired pidha moldings with life size heavenly musician figures set on the space in between tiers of pidha moldings which has stepped pyramidal shape. The parsvadevata figures on the deula and the entrance of Jagamohana are made of chlorite schist stones while the entire structure is built of Khonodolite stones. The planning and execution of the temple is so superb that it justified the saying that temples of Orissa are but sculptured mass. Each part of the structure is perfectly balanced and embellished with plastic art of all conceivable forms and designs executed in such a fine manner which would even now create a sense of wonder in the minds of a visitor. More famous in the plastic arts are the life sized mithuna figures or erotic sculptures. The theme of the plastic art includes the entire gamut of social and cultural life of the time and the people. It is rightly observed that with the Sun temple at Konark the Oriya architecture reached its zenith. The temple is ascribed to the rule of the great Ganga emperor Narasimhadeva I (A.D. 1238 – 64). For visitors on Orissa Tourism, the itinerary menu remains incomplete without a vist to the grand Sun Temple .