- Shivani Singh
The Modhera Sun Temple: A Marvellous Piece of History
Gujarat is marked by beautiful landscapes, rich culture and history, ancient temples and shrines, heritage buildings and architecture. Centuries-Old temples have always been the most incredible threads of Gujarat’s culture and history. Gujarat is filled with the most gorgeous array of temples, Sun temple of Modhera is one of them, known as one of the best examples of the Gujarati architecture.The Modhera Sun temple was built by King Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 11th century. Located on the banks of river pushpavati around 100 km from Ahmedabad, Sun temple is built to honour the Sun God or Surya. Modhera is even mentioned in the ancient books of Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana. The whole structure of the temple is towered on a lotus-shaped structure and each and every wall of the temple shows the detailed carvings of our culture from the human lifecycle to kamasutra, from Ramayana to Mahabharata.
The temple is divided into three parts-
The shrine hall (Gudha Mandapa): a hall where the idol of Sun God was placed before being devastated by Mahmud Ghazni. The walls of the shrine hall still shows the twelve different facets of the Sun God in each month. It is built in a way that the first ray of the sun would fall on the diamond placed on the head of the Sun God which lights up the shrine hall in a golden glow.
The assembly hall (Sabha Mandapa): a place where all religious gatherings and meetings used to take place. The assembly hall is built on 52 pillars, representing the 52 weeks in a year. It also has the carvings of the Sun on the walls to depict its unity with air, water, space and earth. The hall had slabs constructed along the walls for the people to sit and rest.
The reservoir (Surya Kunda): a deep rectangular step-well right in front of the temple which was earlier used for the storage of pure water. It is covered with stones all around.
In this temple, no one worships anymore.
According to hindu mythology, it is believed that the walk from Gudha Mandapa (the shrine hall) to Surya Kunda (the reservoir) through the main temple is perceived as the journey from death to moksha.
Presently, the Archeological Survey of India has taken on the temple for renovation and refurbishment.
In 2014, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites added the Modhera Sun Temple on its list.
Visiting this magnificent structure of Modhera will leave you wonderstruck and amazed. Besides all the ruins, you’ll still see and feel the depth of the history and the tremendous hard work behind its architecture.
The majestically peaceful ambience of the temple will take you away from your stressful daily routine to the splendid times back in the golden era. The tales and stories of the temple will leave your heart with a mixed feeling of both surprise and anguish.
So, if you are planning a trip across Gujarat, don’t forget to add this to your list.
Here is a video of my Gujarat Trip:
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