A trip to the Vibrant Gujarat in Jan 2017 marked the start of my travels this year. And true to its name Gujarat turned out to be much colorful & full of ancient and cultural heritage of India . I shall share more of my Gujarat trip in my next blog post , as this one I dedicate to the much fascinating piece of history.
The Sun Temple approx.100kms from city of Ahmedabad situated on the banks of Pushpavati river in Modhera Gujarat. If you are living in Ahmedabad or are visiting the city and have an extra day to make use of,then a quick day trip planed,area being easily accessible via road through public or private transport. Since I was travelling with a small group , we hired a cab for the day to take us to the temple & on our way back we covered another restored archeological site- Adalaj ni vav (step well) . The drive to the Modhera was quite comfortable, with highways in Gujarat being the best in the country and had vast fields of the seasonal plantation. The best time to visit this part of the country will be in winter months from Nov-Feb, as temperatures can be quite high in summers.
The Temple dates back to 1022-63A.D built by King Bhimdev of The Solanki Dynasty for worship of the Sun God. On entry in the premises of the temple compound , I was bit amazed to see the vast greenery well maintained by the care-taker of the area. As I went closer inside the compound , the Sun Temple stood in all its glory in the center of the sprawling green lawns. We had arranged a guide from Ahmedabad for the day trip and that proved a good decision , as he did his job quite well .
The Sun Temple built on Tropic of Cancer 23°26′13.5″ North of Equator,the sun is directly overhead on June Solstice , which I guess has some linkage as to why the temple built here ! The two basic architectural styles of temples in India with reference the geographical and cultural influence are Nagara Shaily (North Indian) and Dravidian Shaily (South Indian).Thus , Sun Temple of Modhera falls under Nagara Shaily built by the Sompura families. As we step closer to the Temple, first comes the huge Rama Kund or Surya Kund, rectangular water tank, filled with natural under ground water , surrounded by smaller temples dedicated to Ganesha, Shiva , Sitlamata .
There are 108 small temples in the compound , each representing a different god and it also has Half Moonstone in the center of Kund ,moon used as a symbol to ward of negativity.
As I proceeded inside the temple , first comes the Sabha Mandap or the Dancing Hall and I enthralled by the architectural design carved inside as well as outside the walls of the temple. Our guide carefully shows us the carvings each depicting a scene from Ramayana , Bhagwat Gita Or other sacred scriptures , some of which we recognize instantly.There were 52 pillars inside , each having its own significance. On one of the pillars the Sun God could be seen with his seven horses , Lord Vishnu with Laxmi etc. Few pillars outside the temple walls also had erotic images, which I am informed form the part of the birth life cycle.
The Inner most area or the third part the ‘Garbagruha’, the sanctum sanctorum housed the Surya Idol carved in gold ,which taken away by Mehmood Ghazni during his raid of Gujarat.
After a detailed chapter of history and a brilliant photo-session in the compound , we made our way back to Ahmedabad, enjoying a typical gujarati style lunch in a gujarati dhaaba(restaurant)on the highway which made my day!
You can have a Photo Tour of The Sun Temple by clicking on the photo below and enjoy the architecture but to have the yummy gujarati food you will have to plan a visit 🙂