The Sun temple at Modhera is dedicated to Surya, Sun God in Hinduism. Situated on the bank of Pushpavati River, the Sun temple is visited by the devotees throughout the year. The temple is easily accessible from Ahmadabad, the largest city of Gujarat. This ancient temple revitalizes the reminiscences of Sun temple at Konark, Orissa.
This temple is known for its great architectural work. This sun temple is the most important of all the sun temples built in Gujarat. Unfortunately, there is no worship offered here now. But it holds the same devotional significance as other sun temples. Those planning to visit Gujarat should definitely pay a visit to this great sun temple.
Picture 1 – Sun Temple Map
The Sun temple lies on the bank of calming cool Pushpavati River in Modhera, 125 kilometers from Ahmadabad in northern Gujarat.
The closest airport to this Sun temple is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad. After arriving at the airport, taxis and other rental services are available plying to and fro Modhera. It is suggested to hire air conditioned taxi if you are travelling in the summer months.
The closest railway station is at Mehsana. This railway station is situated some 25km away from the city of Ahmedabad. There are frequent trains from all the major cities to Mehsana. From Mehsana station hire a taxi to reach the Sun temple. Taxis are easily available in the railway station.
Bus service is also there connecting the city of Modhera with the other parts of Gujarat. Buses are the cheapest mode of transportation but the journey is not comfortable always.
In Gujarat the weather varies in different regions. In Modhera, the temperature in summer raises very high, day temperature rises to 45 degree. In winter the temperature is okay. The days are usually sunny and the sky remains clear. The monsoon season starts from middle of June and continues till September. Before monsoon, the temperature soars high with high humidity.
It was in 1026 AD that Rushabh Bhimdev I, hailing from the Solanki dynasty, built this temple. It was during this time that Somnath as well as the adjoining area was plundered by Mahmud of Ghazni and was tottered as after effect. It is also a fact that the Solankis recouped much of the lost power. It was during that time only that the royalty and traders came together to contribute in building many more such grand temples. These Solankis were Suryavanshis, which means they were believed to have hailed from the Sun god’s very own family.
Picture 2 - Sun Temple
The temple was designed so uniquely that the first rays of the sun illuminated the image of the Sun God, during the equinoxes. Disappointingly, much of this temple is ruined after it was attacked by Allauddin Khilji, but enough has remained of this temple to silently speak of its grandeur.
The sun temple is well-known for its great architectural work. The kind of art work on this temple will surely mesmerize you. Irani style of architecture is seen in the whole temple. The first and second part of the temple includes the pavilion. These kinds of art works cannot be found in modern temple architecture. The temple is comprised of three separate and incorporated elements – Sabha Mandap, Surya Kund and Guda Mandap.
Sabha Mandap is a magnificent pillared hall originally meant for religious gatherings. The hall is open from all the sides and is comprised of 52 carved pillars representing 52 weeks in a year. The carvings portray episodes from the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Krishna Lila.
In between the Sabha Mandap and the sanctum sanctorum is a fine-looking hall comprised of pillars and arches whose portico has been renovated and redone partially. The walls have 12 niches portraying the different aspects of the Sun god in each month.
Picture 3 - Sun Temple Photo
The Suryakunda, popular as Ramakunda, is a rectangular stepped tank used to store water. This stepped tank measure 53.6 X 36.6 meters. Devotees were to do a ceremonial and ritualistic washing of hands in this tank here before worshipping the Sun god.
The tank is made of stone that displays the incredible pattern of the art. The tank is proportioned with innumerable stone stairs that lead the devotees down to the tank base. The most amazing thing about this tank is that 108 miniature shrines had been carved under the stairs leading downwards the tank.
Four terraces slide down to reach the bottom of the tank. Gods and goddess are portrayed in immortalized works on stone. Toran, two huge and beautifully craved arches, makes gateway entering the Sabha Mandap.
The main temple is called sanctum sanctorum. The whole temple is based on an upturned lotus base podium. The sun rays during rise and set of the sun, during equinoxes, fell on the gold idol of Sun god. The entire gold idol was placed in a 15 ft. deep underground trench and is filled with gold coins during the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni. But alas, it was all plundered in the invasion.
Exterior of the Temple
The temple exterior presents 12 postures of Aditya, Sun god with his eight dikpals.
Picture 4 - Sun Temple Picture
The entire temple is filled with great sculptural work. The most important religious sects of India like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are being presented in the art from. A very philosophical portrayal of sexual iconography is exhibited on the exterior walls of the temple. The entire temple is filled with architectural and sculptural work.
Modhera sun temple organizes dance festival every year. The dance festival is held during the third week of January every year. The objective is to entertain the devotees and enthrall the audience. This dance festival is popular as Uttarayan and is held for three days in the backdrop of the temple. Classical dance recital is organized in the festival. The festival is organized by the Gujerat’s Tourism Corporation. The three day festival allows audiences to experience living heritage of Indian dance and music.
No information on specific temple hours is available. But it is best to go while the sun is still there. The temple campus is not electrically illuminated.
There are much more to see in Gujarat apart from the Sun temple. After having a day’s trip to this temple, you can also explore the other tourist spots as well. One of the prime attractions is the Maatangi Modheswari temple, shrined with the idol of Modheswari Maa. This is a must visit in Gujarat. Sabarmati ashram is located nearby the temple.
Picture 5 - Sun Temple Image
Kids will enjoy a visit to Jessore Sloth-Bear sanctuary. This sanctuary is surrounded by deciduous forest. Apart from the Sloth bear, other animals like leopard, wild boar, blue bill and much more species of animals can be seen in this sanctuary. The sanctuary also has 406 species of plant.
There are ample of hotels to stay in. Most of the hotels are located nearby the temples that will make your stay even better. The Sahara bridge hotel in Mahesana is just 10 minutes from the station. The hotel has luxurious rooms along with all the modern amenities.
Hotel Surya is also a nice one to stay in. All the rooms are well furnished.
Balaram Palace Resort is a lavish hotel to stay in. This resort is seen both in Modhera and Patan. You can also book room at PWD Rest house or at Dharamsala.
After completing your tour of the Sun temple, all you need is to relax and have some good food to re-energize yourself for more exploration or plain hunger quench. Three of the popular restaurants to name are :
All these restaurants are located in the Mehasana town. Make sure that you are having your lunch or dinner at the best restaurants in town, to enhance the fun of the tour.
Visit the Sun Temple, Modhera when get a chance with your friends and family. This is an ideal place to worship the Sun god, Surya.
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