Saturday, April 9, 2016

H for Heritage

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


The UNESCO has listed 981 world heritage sites in the world. Of these 32 sites are in India. We have heard and probably visited the most famous of these heritage sites like the Khajuraho temples, the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, the Agra Fort, Jantar Mantar, Bodh Gaya, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Elephanta, Ajanta and Ellora caves, The stupa at Sanchi, and the temple ruins at Hampi.

A lot of national parks and sanctuaries make it to the list too.  The Great Himalayan national park, Western ghats, Sunderbans national park, Nanda Devi and the Valley of flowers, Keoladeo national park, Manas wildlife sanctuary, and the Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary are the ones that have made it to the list.

And then there are lesser known UNESCO sites like Mahabalipuram, Chola temples at Brihadeshvara, The Churches of Goa , Pattadakal, Rani ki Vav, the Mountain railways of India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, the hill forts of Rajasthan, and the Champaner archeological park.

Each of these places is unique in its own way, displaying stunning architectural details, sculptures that take your breath away and beauty that is unparalleled making every one of these places a worthy member of the prestigious list. Here’s one such UNESCO site that will leave you agape in wonder.

The Konark Sun temple-

The Konark sun temple on the eastern coast of Odisha is nothing short of a marvel! The temple as the name indicates the temple is dedicated to the Sun God – Surya, and is designed in the shape of a massive chariot with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses. The Kalinga architecture is amazing, but what is truly a scientific marvel are the wheels. Mind you, these are no ordinary wheels, they can tell the time – precisely to the minute! They are Konark’s prestigious Sundials!

How does one tell time at Konark?

The wheel is divided by sixteen spokes, eight thick ones and eight thin ones. The distance between two thick spokes is three hours. And the distance between a thin spoke and a thick spoke is one and a half hour. At the circumference of the wheel are small beads placed closely. Between a thick spoke and a thin spoke, there are 30 beads. So each bead corresponds to 3 minutes. Each bead can be further divided into three parts and that is how you can tell time precisely to the minute!

All you have to do is, place your finger on the center of the wheel and see where the shadow falls. That shows the exact time. The wheel shows time in an anti-clockwise direction.

What’s also amazing is the presence of iron plates between every two stones used to build the main sanctum. A 52-ton magnet was used to create the peak to hold the structure in place.

The temple also had a diamond positioned in the middle of the idol in such a way that the sun’s rays would get reflected by the diamond and fall on the idol. During the colonial rule, the magnets, and the diamond were removed.

Believe it or not - That's Incredible India!


  1. This was amazing Shubhangi! What geniuses created this work of art! So way ahead of their times! I knew about the Sun temple but not about this time-telling wheel.Thanks for sharing!
    @KalaRavi16 from

  2. the science behind sundial is amazing :D I have visited only 4 of those UNESCO sites.

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

  3. You make me want to visit the Sun Temple now! There are so many places to discover in India each time and that's saying something. As always, such a well researched post.

  4. This is fascinating. Orissa is on my to-visit list.

  5. Wow, I didn't know this about the wheel in the Sun Temple. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Very interesting facts Shubhangi. I have been there once but wish had known more about the place. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have read so much about the sundial at Konark. It's so amazingly fascinating. Hope to see it sometimes soon!

  8. So many places to visit, so much to experience. That's indeed incredible India. Was at Sun Temple more than two decades ago, time to revisit and relive that experience of WOW!

  9. Truly Incredible India. The wheel showcases our rich cultural and intellectual legacy. WoW and thanks for showing India in all its hues and forms:)

  10. I am very proud of our heritage. But if only we took good care of it and kept all these places clean.

  11. It is quite fascinating to learn so many things about India on your blog. I've seen a couple of places in the list and they are totally worth making in the list!



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