The Ultimate Tourist Guide to the Konark, Odisha for Travelers

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Introduction to Konark

Overview of Konark

Konark, a small town in the Puri district of Odisha, India, is a remarkable destination known for its historical and architectural significance. The name “Konark” is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Kona’ (corner) and ‘Arka’ (sun), referring to the town’s iconic Sun Temple. Situated on the Bay of Bengal coastline, Konark is not just a religious site but also a testament to ancient Indian artistry and ingenuity.

Konark is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sun Temple, often referred to as the “Black Pagoda” due to its dark color and its historical role as a navigational landmark for sailors. This stunning edifice, built in the 13th century, is a prime example of Kalinga architecture and is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya. Beyond its architectural marvels, Konark is also known for its serene beaches, vibrant culture, and annual dance festival.

Historical Significance

The history of Konark is deeply intertwined with the story of the Sun Temple. Constructed by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the mid-13th century, the temple was designed to represent the chariot of Surya, the Sun God, with twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels and seven horses pulling it. The temple’s grandeur and intricate carvings reflect the zenith of Odishan temple architecture.

Legend has it that the temple was built over a span of 12 years by 1,200 artisans. Unfortunately, the main sanctum, which housed the deity, has fallen into ruins over the centuries, but the surviving structures still offer a glimpse into the site’s former glory. Konark’s Sun Temple not only served as a place of worship but also played a crucial role in the cultural and social life of the region.

Cultural Importance

Konark is a cultural treasure trove, embodying the rich heritage and traditions of Odisha. The Sun Temple is adorned with exquisite sculptures that depict scenes from Hindu mythology, daily life, and the intricacies of human emotions. The carvings include celestial beings, musicians, dancers, animals, and mythical creatures, showcasing the artistic brilliance of the time.

The town comes alive during the annual Konark Dance Festival, held in December, which attracts classical dancers from all over India. This festival is a celebration of India’s diverse dance forms, including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and more, performed against the backdrop of the illuminated Sun Temple, creating a mesmerizing experience.

In addition to its dance traditions, Konark is also known for its traditional crafts, particularly stone carving, which has been passed down through generations. Local artisans continue to create beautiful sculptures and handicrafts, reflecting the town’s enduring artistic legacy.

How to Reach Konark

Here is the information on how to reach Konark presented in a tabular format:

Mode of TransportDetails
By AirNearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (approximately 60 km from Konark)
Connectivity: Regular flights to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore. International flights to destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Dubai.
Airport to Konark: Taxis, private cabs, and buses are available from the airport to Konark.
By TrainNearest Railway Stations:
– Puri Railway Station (approximately 35 km from Konark)
– Bhubaneswar Railway Station (approximately 65 km from Konark)
Major Train Routes:
– Puri: Connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.
– Bhubaneswar: A major railway hub with connections to various parts of India including Howrah, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
Station to Konark: Buses and taxis are available from both Puri and Bhubaneswar railway stations to Konark.
By RoadMajor Road Routes:
– From Bhubaneswar: Take the Puri-Konark Marine Drive via NH316 and Konark Road (approximately 65 km).
– From Puri: Take the Puri-Konark Marine Drive (approximately 35 km).
Bus Services: Regular state-run and private buses operate between Konark and major cities like Bhubaneswar and Puri.
Car Rentals and Taxis: Available from Bhubaneswar and Puri for a more comfortable and direct journey to Konark.

Best Time to Visit Konark

Climate and Weather ConditionsSummer (March to June): Hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 40°C. Not ideal for sightseeing.
Monsoon (July to September): Moderate to heavy rainfall, making travel difficult but the surroundings are lush and green.
Winter (October to February): Pleasant and cool with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 28°C. Ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
Peak Tourist SeasonsWinter (October to February): Most popular time to visit due to the pleasant weather.
Konark Dance Festival (December): Attracts many tourists and classical dance enthusiasts from all over the world.
Recommended Travel TimesBest Time: October to February for pleasant weather and cultural festivals.
Avoid: March to June due to the heat and July to September due to the monsoon rains.

Major Attractions in Konark

Konark Sun Temple

History: The Konark Sun Temple, built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, and is designed to resemble his chariot, complete with twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels and seven horses.

Architecture: The temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture. It features intricate carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, daily life, and the natural world. The temple’s walls are adorned with sculptures of deities, musicians, dancers, animals, and mythical creatures, showcasing the artistic brilliance of the time.

Significance: The Sun Temple is not only a religious site but also a cultural symbol of India’s rich heritage. It played a vital role in the region’s social and cultural life and continues to attract pilgrims, historians, and tourists from around the world.

Chandrabhaga Beach

Activities: Chandrabhaga Beach is known for its serene beauty and tranquil environment. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. The beach is also a popular spot for watching the sunrise and sunset, offering breathtaking views.

Attractions: The beach is famous for its annual Chandrabhaga Mela, a festival held in honor of the Sun God. During this festival, devotees take a ritual bath in the sea. The beach’s clean and unspoiled sands, coupled with the backdrop of the Sun Temple, make it a must-visit destination.

Archaeological Museum

Collection: The Archaeological Museum in Konark houses a vast collection of sculptures and artifacts recovered from the Sun Temple and other nearby sites. The museum has four galleries showcasing exquisite pieces, including images of Hindu deities, celestial beings, and intricate carvings.

Exhibits: The museum provides insight into the architectural and cultural history of Konark. Visitors can see original temple sculptures, including representations of Surya, celestial nymphs, and various scenes from everyday life in ancient times.

Ramachandi Temple

Religious Significance: Located on the banks of the Kushabhadra River, the Ramachandi Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ramachandi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. It is one of the most important Shakta pilgrimage sites in Odisha.

Highlights: The temple is known for its serene surroundings and spiritual atmosphere. The annual festival of Durga Puja is celebrated with great fervor, attracting devotees from far and wide. The nearby river adds to the temple’s picturesque setting, making it a peaceful spot for meditation and reflection.

ASI Museum

Historical Artifacts: Managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the ASI Museum in Konark showcases a collection of artifacts and sculptures from the Sun Temple and other archaeological sites. The museum’s exhibits include various stone carvings, inscriptions, and historical records.

Importance: The museum plays a crucial role in preserving and presenting the rich heritage of Konark. It offers visitors a deeper understanding of the temple’s history, the craftsmanship involved in its construction, and the cultural significance of the artifacts on display.

Other Nearby Attractions


Jagannath Temple: The Jagannath Temple in Puri is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath (a form of Krishna), the temple is renowned for its annual Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival), which attracts millions of devotees. The temple’s architecture and intricate carvings make it a must-visit for those interested in history and culture.

Puri Beach: Puri Beach is a popular destination for both pilgrims and tourists. Known for its golden sands and vibrant atmosphere, the beach is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying local seafood delicacies. The beach is also famous for its sand art displays, often featuring themes from Indian mythology.


Lingaraj Temple: The Lingaraj Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture, featuring a towering spire and intricate carvings. It is a significant religious site and a testament to the architectural prowess of ancient Odisha.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: These ancient rock-cut caves are located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar and date back to the 2nd century BCE. The Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves were carved out during the reign of King Kharavela and served as residential blocks for Jain monks. The caves feature beautiful sculptures, inscriptions, and intricate carvings depicting various Jain Tirthankaras and historical events.

Chilika Lake

Boating: Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, is a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers. Visitors can enjoy boat rides on the lake, exploring its numerous islands and scenic beauty. The boats often stop at Nalabana Island, a bird sanctuary home to a variety of migratory birds.

Bird Watching: Chilika Lake is a renowned bird-watching destination, attracting ornithologists and bird enthusiasts from around the world. During the winter months, the lake becomes a temporary home to thousands of migratory birds, including flamingos, pelicans, and a variety of waterfowl. The lake’s diverse ecosystem supports a wide range of bird species, making it a prime spot for bird watching.

Cultural Experiences

Local Festivals and Events

Konark Dance Festival: Held annually in December, the Konark Dance Festival is a vibrant celebration of India’s classical dance forms. The festival is set against the stunning backdrop of the illuminated Sun Temple, creating a magical atmosphere. Renowned dancers from across the country perform Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and other classical dances, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India.

Chandrabhaga Mela: This annual fair, held in the month of February, is a significant religious event where thousands of devotees gather to take a holy dip in the Chandrabhaga River on Magha Saptami. The fair also features cultural performances, local crafts, and traditional food stalls, offering a glimpse into the vibrant local culture.

Durga Puja: Celebrated with great enthusiasm in Konark, Durga Puja is a major festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. The town comes alive with beautifully decorated pandals, traditional music, dance performances, and festive processions. It’s an excellent time to experience the local customs and religious fervor.

Traditional Dance and Music

Odissi Dance: Originating from Odisha, Odissi is one of the oldest classical dance forms in India. Known for its grace, intricate footwork, and expressive gestures, Odissi dance performances are a visual treat. Visitors can watch these performances at various cultural events and festivals in Konark.

Pala and Daskathia: These are traditional folk music and storytelling forms popular in Odisha. Pala combines singing, dancing, and storytelling, often centered around mythological themes, while Daskathia involves a pair of performers narrating stories through rhythmic dialogue and songs. These performances provide deep insights into the region’s folklore and traditions.

Mahari Dance: Another traditional dance form associated with the temples of Odisha, Mahari dance was performed by the Devadasis (temple dancers) as a form of offering to the deities. It is characterized by graceful movements and devotional themes, reflecting the spiritual heritage of the region.

Handicrafts and Local Markets

Stone Carving: Konark is renowned for its intricate stone carvings, a tradition that dates back to the construction of the Sun Temple. Local artisans create beautiful sculptures, idols, and decorative items using traditional techniques. Visitors can purchase these exquisite stone carvings as souvenirs.

Pattachitra Paintings: These traditional scroll paintings are a unique art form of Odisha, characterized by intricate detailing and mythological themes. Pattachitra paintings make for unique and colorful keepsakes, reflecting the rich artistic heritage of the region.

Applique Work: The nearby town of Pipili is famous for its applique work, where colorful fabrics are sewn together to create beautiful patterns and designs. Products such as wall hangings, lampshades, and bags adorned with applique work are popular among tourists.

Local Markets: The markets in and around Konark offer a variety of local crafts and souvenirs. The Konark Handicrafts Market is a great place to explore and purchase traditional items like stone sculptures, paintings, textiles, and other handmade products. Bargaining is a common practice, and it adds to the fun of shopping in these vibrant markets.

Accommodation in Konark

Here is the information on accommodation in Konark presented in a tabular format:

Luxury Hotels– Lotus Eco ResortA premium resort offering luxurious cottages, modern amenities, beach access, a spa, and fine dining options.
– Mayfair Heritage PuriLocated in nearby Puri, this luxury hotel features well-appointed rooms, swimming pool, multiple dining options, and excellent hospitality services.
Mid-Range Hotels– Surya InnA comfortable hotel offering spacious rooms, an on-site restaurant, and proximity to the Sun Temple and Chandrabhaga Beach.
– Sun Temple HotelMid-range hotel with clean, well-furnished rooms, basic amenities, and convenient access to major attractions in Konark.
Budget Accommodations– Yatri NivasBudget-friendly hotel providing basic amenities, clean rooms, and a restaurant, ideal for budget-conscious travelers.
– Konark LodgeAffordable lodging with essential facilities, located near the Sun Temple, suitable for short stays and budget travelers.
Guesthouses and Homestays– Konark HomestayA homely and welcoming environment offering personalized services, home-cooked meals, and a chance to experience local culture.
– Sun Temple Guest HouseBudget guesthouse with clean, simple rooms, friendly hosts, and close proximity to local attractions and markets.

Food and Dining in Konark

Here is the information in a tabular format:

Local Cuisine and Specialties
DalmaA wholesome dish made of lentils and vegetables, seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Pakhala BhataFermented rice soaked in water, served with roasted vegetables, fried fish, or papad.
Chhena PodaA dessert made from fresh cottage cheese, sugar, and semolina, baked until caramelized.
Macha GhantaA spicy fish curry with various spices, potatoes, and vegetables.
SantulaA healthy mix of boiled vegetables seasoned with mustard seeds and green chilies.
RasagolaA famous sweet made from cottage cheese and semolina dough, cooked in sugar syrup.
Recommended Restaurants
Geetanjali RestaurantKnown for its authentic Odia thali and seafood dishes. Simple ambiance and friendly service.
Sun Temple Hotel and RestaurantOffers Indian, Chinese, and continental cuisines. Odia dishes, especially seafood, are highly recommended.
New Odisha HotelFamous for traditional Odia meals. Authentic flavors and budget-friendly prices.
Street Food and Food Markets
Konark Beach MarketOffers various street food stalls with samosas, pakoras, chaat, and fresh seafood. Bustling with activity.
Evening Food Stalls near Sun TempleArea comes alive with numerous food stalls offering gupchup (pani puri), aloo dum, dahi vada, rasgulla, and chhena poda. Vibrant atmosphere.

Transportation within Konark

Here is the information in a tabular format:

Local Transportation Options
TaxisEasily available for short trips and sightseeing.
Auto-RickshawsConvenient for short distances and local travel. Negotiate the fare before starting the trip.
BusesRegular services connect Konark to nearby towns and cities.
Rental Services
Bikes and ScootersAvailable for rent from local shops for convenient travel around town.
CarsSeveral rental agencies offer cars for self-drive or with a driver.
Tips for Getting Around
Fare AgreementAlways agree on a fare before starting your journey if using auto-rickshaws or taxis.
Rental ConvenienceUse rental bikes or cars to explore at your own pace, especially for visiting remote beaches or temples.
Public TransportationUtilize buses for cost-effective travel to nearby destinations.

Travel Tips and Practical Information

Safety Tips for Travelers

  • Personal Belongings: Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings to avoid theft or loss.
  • Avoid Isolation: Avoid isolated areas, especially after dark, to ensure personal safety.
  • Local Advice: Seek advice from locals or authorities if you are unsure about the safety of certain areas.

Local Customs and Etiquette

  • Modest Dress: Dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and religious sites. This shows respect for local customs.
  • Respect Traditions: Be mindful and respectful of local traditions and practices.
  • Footwear: Remove footwear before entering religious places as a sign of respect.

Language and Communication

  • Primary Language: The primary language spoken in Konark is Odia. However, Hindi and English are also commonly understood.
  • Basic Phrases: Learning a few basic Odia phrases can be helpful and is usually appreciated by locals.
  • Communication: English is widely understood in tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants.

Emergency Contacts and Useful Numbers

  • Police: Dial 100 for police assistance in case of emergencies.
  • Ambulance: Dial 108 for medical emergencies and ambulance services.
  • Fire Service: Dial 101 to reach the fire department.
  • Tourist Helpline: Dial 1363 for any tourist-related assistance and information.

Suggested Itineraries

Here is the information in a tabular format:

One-Day Itinerary
MorningVisit the Sun Temple
AfternoonRelax at Chandrabhaga Beach
EveningExplore local markets and street food
Weekend Getaway
Day 1Sun Temple, Archaeological Museum, and Konark Beach
Day 2Day trip to Ramachandi Temple and nature walks
Extended Stay
Day 1-2Sun Temple, Archaeological Museum, Konark Beach, Ramachandi Temple
Day 3-4Day trips to nearby destinations like Puri and Bhubaneswar
Day 5-7Explore hidden gems, lesser-known beaches, and cultural sites

Shopping in Konark

Souvenirs and Local Crafts

  • Handicrafts: Konark is famous for its exquisite handicrafts, including stone carvings, wooden sculptures, and intricate applique work.
  • Applique Work: Traditional applique textiles and accessories, often featuring vibrant colors and intricate designs.
  • Sand Art: Unique sand sculptures and paintings that make for beautiful souvenirs.
  • Tribal Jewelry: Authentic jewelry crafted by local tribes, using traditional techniques and materials.

Popular Shopping Areas and Markets

  • Konark Market: A bustling market where you can find a variety of local crafts, souvenirs, and everyday items. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Pipli Village: Located nearby, this village is renowned for its applique work. The vibrant textiles and crafts available here are perfect for souvenirs and gifts.

Tips for Bargaining

  • Polite Negotiation: Bargaining is common in local markets. Start by offering a price lower than the asking price and negotiate politely.
  • Show Interest: Demonstrating genuine interest in the craftsmanship and asking about the making process can help in getting a better price.
  • Know the Value: Have an idea of the general prices for items you’re interested in, so you can negotiate effectively.
  • Be Respectful: Always be respectful and courteous during the bargaining process, as this is a cultural exchange and mutual respect is appreciated.

Adventure and Activities in Konark

Water Sports at Chandrabhaga Beach

Chandrabhaga Beach, located close to the Sun Temple, is a hub for various water sports activities:

  • Surfing: The beach offers good waves for surfing enthusiasts.
  • Jet-Skiing: Thrill-seekers can enjoy jet-skiing along the coastline.
  • Parasailing: Experience the thrill of parasailing and enjoy breathtaking views of the beach and surrounding areas.

Nature Walks and Trekking

Konark and its surrounding areas provide beautiful spots for nature walks and trekking:

  • Sun Temple to Ramachandi Temple Trail: A scenic trail that takes you through lush greenery and offers a peaceful walking experience.
  • Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary: Explore the diverse flora and fauna of this sanctuary. The trails here are perfect for nature walks and bird watching.
  • Chandrabhaga to Konark Beach Walk: A serene walk along the coastline, ideal for those who love to enjoy the sea breeze and picturesque views.

Photography Spots

Konark is a paradise for photography enthusiasts, with numerous spots offering stunning views and unique subjects:

  • Sun Temple: The intricate carvings and majestic architecture make the Sun Temple a prime spot for photography.
  • Chandrabhaga Beach: Capture the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, as well as the vibrant activities on the beach.
  • Ramachandi Temple: The serene surroundings and the temple’s location by the river provide excellent photo opportunities.
  • Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary: Ideal for capturing wildlife and nature shots, with plenty of opportunities to photograph birds, animals, and scenic landscapes.

Health and Wellness in Konark

Availability of Medical Facilities

  • Local Clinics and Pharmacies: Konark has several clinics and pharmacies that provide basic medical services and over-the-counter medications.
  • Nearby Hospitals: For more serious medical needs, the nearest major hospitals are in Puri and Bhubaneswar, both of which are well-equipped and have comprehensive medical facilities.

Tips for Staying Healthy

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of bottled or purified water, especially during the hot summer months, to stay hydrated and avoid heat-related illnesses.
  • Food Safety: While street food is delicious, if you have a sensitive stomach, stick to cooked foods and avoid raw or undercooked items. Opt for reputable restaurants and eateries.
  • Sun Protection: Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong sun, particularly when visiting outdoor attractions like the Sun Temple and beaches.
  • Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites, especially in the evenings and in areas near water.

Spa and Wellness Centers

  • Hotel Spas: Many hotels in Konark offer spa services, including traditional Ayurvedic treatments, massages, and wellness therapies. These services are designed to help you relax and rejuvenate during your stay.
  • Ayurvedic Centers: Look for Ayurvedic wellness centers that offer specialized treatments and therapies based on ancient Indian practices. These centers provide holistic approaches to health and well-being.
  • Yoga and Meditation: Some wellness centers and retreats in and around Konark offer yoga and meditation sessions. These practices can help you unwind and find inner peace amidst the natural beauty of the region.

Responsible Travel in Konark

Environmental Considerations

  • Avoid Single-Use Plastics: Minimize the use of single-use plastics like bottles, bags, and straws. Carry a reusable water bottle and shopping bag.
  • Proper Waste Disposal: Dispose of waste properly. Use designated bins and avoid littering, especially in natural and historical sites.
  • Respect Wildlife: Do not disturb wildlife or their habitats. Maintain a safe distance and avoid feeding animals.
  • Conserve Resources: Use water and electricity sparingly. Turn off lights, fans, and air conditioning when not in use.

Supporting Local Communities

  • Buy Local Products: Purchase souvenirs, crafts, and other goods from local artisans and shops. This supports the local economy and helps preserve traditional crafts.
  • Eat at Local Restaurants: Choose local eateries and street food vendors to support local businesses.
  • Respect Cultural Practices: Engage with local customs and traditions respectfully. Participate in cultural activities and festivals to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture.
  • Fair Wages: Ensure that the services you use, such as guides and drivers, are paid fair wages.

Sustainable Travel Tips

  • Eco-Friendly Accommodations: Choose hotels and guesthouses that follow eco-friendly practices, such as waste recycling, energy conservation, and water-saving measures.
  • Public Transport: Use public transportation options like buses or shared auto-rickshaws to reduce your carbon footprint. Consider renting a bike for short trips.
  • Stay Longer: Instead of rushing through many destinations, spend more time in fewer places. This reduces travel emissions and allows for a more immersive experience.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about the local environment, wildlife, and conservation efforts. Being informed helps you make responsible decisions during your travels.
  • Volunteer: Consider volunteering with local environmental or community projects. This is a great way to give back and make a positive impact on the places you visit.


Summary of Key Points

Konark is a destination rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Key highlights include:

  • Sun Temple: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings.
  • Chandrabhaga Beach: Offers a range of water sports and beautiful sunrise and sunset views.
  • Local Cuisine: Enjoy traditional Odia dishes like Dalma, Pakhala Bhata, and Chhena Poda at local restaurants and street food stalls.
  • Shopping: Explore local markets for unique handicrafts, applique work, and tribal jewelry.
  • Adventure and Activities: Engage in water sports, nature walks, trekking, and photography.
  • Health and Wellness: Access to medical facilities, wellness tips, and spa centers.
  • Responsible Travel: Emphasize environmental conservation, support for local communities, and sustainable practices.

Encouragement to Visit Konark

Konark is a captivating destination that offers something for every traveler. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or an adventure enthusiast, Konark provides a unique and enriching experience. The warmth of the local people, the rich cultural heritage, and the serene natural landscapes make Konark a must-visit destination.

Final Travel Tips

  • Plan Ahead: Research and plan your itinerary to make the most of your visit.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially during hot weather.
  • Respect Local Customs: Dress modestly and follow local etiquette, particularly at religious sites.
  • Stay Safe: Keep your belongings secure and be cautious in isolated areas.
  • Embrace the Experience: Take time to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the residents.

Konark is not just a place to visit, but an experience to cherish. From the magnificent Sun Temple to the vibrant local markets and the tranquil beaches, Konark promises memories that will last a lifetime. Plan your trip, travel responsibly, and enjoy the wonders of this incredible destination.

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