Incredible Sun Temple, Modhera in Gujarat
Boasting exquisite architectural details as well as a vast religious and historical heritage, the gorgeous Sun Temple, Modhera stands ready to amaze its visitors in Modhera, Gujarat, which is a state found on the North-West coast of India. The site is often visited by history enthusiasts from all over the world, who are interested in learning about its secrets and about the old ways. In its glory days, the temple was used to worship the Hindu Sun-God, Surya, but it is no longer used in religious purposes, for obvious reasons.
The temple was built by Rushabh Bhimdev I, who was part of the Solanki Dynasty, in 1026 AD. The Solankis were considered descendants of the Sun God himself, and they managed to regain much of their lost power during those times, even though Somnath and the surrounding areas were frequently plundered by invaders.
With its unique architecture, the temple features an image of the Sun God Surya that is bathed in the first rays of sun at the equinoxes. The building is divided into three main areas, named Guda Mandap, Sabha Mandap and Surya Kund, the latter representing a generous rectangular-shaped tank that was used to store water. This water tank included a vast number of stone steps that lead down to its base, while 108 small shrines were placed in between each step. Suryakunda also boasts exquisite sculptures of Lord Natraj, Lord Ganesh and Lord Vishnu.
Sabha Mandap is a beautiful pillared hall that was used for religious gatherings. The main temple, also known as the sanctum sanctorum, used to contain a magnificent gold idol depicting the Sun god riding his chariot pulled by seven horses, while his “driver”, Saarthi Arun sits on the fourth. This idol was taken away by Mahmud Gazni when he plundered and destroyed most of the temple.
During our present days, the Modhera dance festival that takes place during the third week of January each year honors the temple and its heritage through classical dance routines performed by Indian artists.