Konark Sun Temple also known as the Black Pagoda, was built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (1236 C.E-1264 C.E) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 13th century, the temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with 24 wheels (3.3 m diameter each) drawn by seven horses and, carrying the Sun god, Surya, across the heavens. It is a stunning monument of religious (Brahmanical) architecture.
The Sun temple belongs to the Kalinga School of Indian Temples with characteristic curvilinear towers mounted by cupolas and is aligned in the east-west direction as it is dedicated to Sun, which sun lights the entrance. The temple plan depicts three segments, viz., Natmandir (the outer complex), Jagmohan (the central complex) and Garbhagriha (the main complex housing the Deity). The main sanctum which (69.8 m. high) was constructed along with the audience hall (39.5 m. high) having elaborate external projections. The main sanctum which enshrined the presiding deity has fallen off. The Audience Hall survives in its entirely, but only small portions of the Dancing Hall (Nata Mandir) and the Dining Hall (Bhoga-Mandap) have survived the vagaries of time. The Temple compound measures the temple compound measures 857 ft (261 m) by 540 ft (160 m).
The entrance to the temple is guarded by two lions, each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn is shown on top of a human body. At the entrance, there is also a Nata Mandir or dance hall where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns. There are also human, divine and semi-divine figures in sensuous poses. The poses contains couples in various amorous postures, and are derived from the Kama Sutra.