Friday, 29 July 2011

Modhera Sun Temple: Gujrat’s Mozart

Modhera Sun Temple is the finest examples of Indian temple architecture that reminds of the Sun Temple at Konark and the carvings at Khajuraho. The Modhera sun temple, even in its ruined state is a majestic one, bearing testimony to the art of the ancient Chalukyas of Gujarat, India. This sun temple is one of the few shrines that are dedicated to the Sun God. Situated on the banks of Pushpavati River in Modhera, Sun Temple is easily accessible from Ahmedabad. The temple is built in such a manner that the sun light, peeping into the temple from all sides, falls directly on the statue of the god.

Modhera Sun Temple

Night View of Modhera
The Sun Temple at Modhera dates back to early 11th century CE and was built by King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty (believed to be the descendants of the lineage of Sun God) in 1026 CE. Turning in the pages of history, one can notice the mention of Modhera in the scriptures like Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana. The surrounding area of Modhera used to be known as Dharmaranya (forest of righteousness) and the place was blessed by Lord Rama.

Entrance of Temple

Pillars Craved with God and Goddess

The brilliant architecture of the temple is one of its own class. The design of this temple resembles Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa as this shrine is designed in a manner, so that the first rays of the Sun cast on the image of the Lord Surya.  The temple encompasses three different yet axially-aligned and integrated constituents. Erected on a high platform, the Temple appears majestic with its grand structure. The main entrance is a look-a-like of the gate of Torana, which is beautifully carved. The arches mount on a kirti stambha. The temple also features a beautiful garden and is situated near the banks of the river Pushpawati. The exterior walls are engraved with intricate carvings, boasting about the mastery of art in those times. Every single inch of the structure is covered with the sculptural patterns of Gods, Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. The exterior of the sanctum has many carved images of the Sun God, portrayed as wearing a belt and long shoes as in the Dakshinaarka temple at Gaya. The Sun Temple is divided into three parts namely Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and Guda Mandap.

Surya Kund
In front of the temple is a colossal tank, which was once known as Surya Kund or Rama Kund. The tank has a series of carved steps leading to the bottom. Several miniature shrines adorn the steps of the tank – which is an art gallery in itself.

Surya Kund

The tank has two attributes that break up, and fruitfully complicate, what would otherwise be the monotony of steps leading into a pit. One, a number of small shrines, each holding the image of a deity, are built onto the steps on all four sides, giving the tank the air of a self-contained universe. The most striking of these shrines is an enclosure on the east side showing Vishnu reclining on his sesh naga or coiled serpent, surrounded by other forms.

Steps of Kund

Front View of Ku

Modhera dance festival is the major festival that is observed by the Sun Temple. This dance festival is organized to keep the Indian traditions and culture alive. It is held in the third week of January every year. The classical dance forms in the premises of this temple revive the imperial ambiance during the period. Gujarat Tourism organizes this event to promote tourism at this place.

Modhera Dance Festival

Modhera is now the site of several dance and cultural festivals. The sun temple and the ambience here provide a majestic backdrop for the exhibition of performing arts.
Modhera is just over 100 km from Ahmedabad; Patan another 25 km. State transport buses link all three places, and private buses from Ahmedabad to Patan and back are available through the day (Rs.60). The closest railway station to Modhera is Mahesana, which is about 30 km away. A private cab from Mahesana to Modhera, Patan, and back costs about Rs.1000.


  1. Absolutely stunning pictures of a place I had never heard of before. Even the accompanying text is perfect!

  2. Nice temple. Dedicated to the Sun God, it is one of the oldest Solanki temples in Gujarat. The Sun Temple in Modhera is a relic of the Solanki Dynasty. Check out more details about Modhera Sun Temple.


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