The Navagraha Temple Konark
Located just outside of the very-popular Konark Sun Temple complex, Navagraha Temple, also known as the Nine Planet Shrine, is one of the popular shrines in Odisha. The temple is dedicated to nine celestial bodies of Hindu astronomy, and thus, the name Navagraha derives. Surya (Sun) , Mangala (Mars), Chandra (Moon), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Ketu (South Lunar Node), and Rahu (North Lunar Node) are the nine celestial bodies. There is a 6 metres long and 1.2 metre high chlorite slab which was earlier placed on above the entrance, however, now it has found its place in the temple complex. This chlorite slab is beautifully carved in images of nine planets that are being worshipped at the Navagraha Temple. These nine celestial bodies are adorned with coloured clothes with each cloth representing a different grahas (celestial bodies). Moreover, the architecture of the temple boasts a medieval design.
As described in Puranas, each idol in the temple is sitting on lotus while holding a rosary and kamandalu in their hands followed by a crown on the heads. During the period of Bhaumakara, the lintel-slab of the shrine consisted figures of only 8 celestial bodies. It was after the Ganga Period, the ninth planet came into existence. However, due to the natural disaster, the slabs fell down and could not remain in their indigenous form. Later, it was found by the Asiatic Society of Bengal who wished to move it to Kolkata to display it in the museum. However, it was later cut into two pieces in order to shift it to Kolkata but the heavy weight of the slab makes it difficult. As a result of this, the slab was left at some 220 yards from the temple site. After a few years, the government made necessary arrangements to install the slabs in an area near the temple complex.