On the drive to Konark (75km), we will stop at Dhauli where the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka renounced violence and embraced the teachings of Buddha. We visit the Peace Pagoda known as Shanti Stupa built in early 1970s by the Japanese. We also stop at two ancient rock edicts, today eclipsed by the presence of the Pagoda. Dating from 260BC they outline Ashoka’s detailed instructions to his administrators to rule with gentleness and fairness. Our next stop is the colourful village of Pipili where we can see Orissan handicrafts, the speciality being the famous applique work.
Visit to the Chariot of the Sun God temple, built by King Langula Narasimha Deva in the 13th century AD during the golden era of Orissan art. This temple, among the crowning works of Orissan architecture and sculpture, is sheer poetry in stone. Everyday the Sun God rises from the horizon, across the shimmering blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, and casts the warmth and luminosity of his revitalising rays on the sanctum sanctorum, circling the temple during the course of the day, illuminating the three brilliant images of the sun – in the morning, at mid-day and in the evening, as day makes way for the night. As you approach the water, you will see rising from the golden sandy beach, one of the country’s most vivid archaeological treasures – the Surya Mandir (Sun Temple). For a millennium, this temple served as a beacon to the ancient and medieval mariners. Despite the fact that the Black Pagoda, as it was referred to by European soldiers who wanted to distinguish Konark from the whitewashed Jagannath Temple in Puri, lies in ruins, the structure is magnificent. Afternoon drive to Puri takes about 2hrs. O/n hotel.