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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

India: Konark

Surya's Sun Temple at Konark
Surya's Sun Temple at Konark

Puri is a procrastinator's paradise, but after a couple of days of finding my bearings, I decided I had to ease myself out of the restaurant-by-the-sea experience to explore the biggest tourist attraction in the area: the Sun Temple in Konark. A World Heritage site – always a good pointer, especially in India, which is home to lots of them – it's a gorgeous sandstone building, smothered in intricate carvings in the way that most Hindu temples are. However, Konark's carvings have a subject matter that is a world away from the seriousness of many other temples; Konark specialises in the (t)horny subject of sex.

Kama Sutra poses in Konark
According to the guides, 'all life is here', which might go some way towards explaining the high population of India
One of the wheels of the chariot-shaped temple
The intricate detail of one of the 'wheels' on the huge chariot-shaped temple

1 English is the lingua franca in India (often it's the only way for two Indians from disparate areas to communicate), but it's not so much English, more Inglish. Take the bobbling accent of the Indian living in England and make it thicker, and you end up with a wonderfully musical sound that reminds me of a muddy tide lapping against a dock pile. It might not always be easy to understand, but it's always a joy to listen to.

2 Middle-class Indians are exceptionally well turned out. The men have their standard shirts and trousers, which are well pressed but fairly drab, but the women are sheer celebrations of colour, with wonderful sarees, golden earrings and necklaces, bangles and ankle bracelets, and a sense of style that's unique and effective. Their hair is always clean and tied up neatly, whether in a bun or the popular plaited ponytail, and is secured with exotic brooches, flowers or pretty hair bands. Seeing how a lot of people live in India, it's a testament to them that they consistently manage to look so smart; it's a delight to behold.