In Gujarat, a state in the country India, Modhera is a small town. During the time of 11th century, a renowned sun temple was constructed, for which this place is popular. During the time of Solanki Dynasty and under the commands of King Bhimdev, the construction of this sun temple took place. The Sun God Surya was the main deity of this temple.
The design and architecture of the Sun Temple is very unusual and one of a kind. Much likeliness is there between this Sun Temple and the Sun Temple situated in Konark. Guda Mandap, Surya Kund and Sabha Mandap are three major elements of the Sun Temple. For the people, who adore architecture, this structure is a feast to them. Many fine carvings are there on the building. Another architectural achievement is the big tank which is constructed in front of the temple. Religious speeches and many gatherings take place in the Sabha Mandap. This mandap is the significant portion of the temple.
In the month of January, the temple hosts a festival showing dance forms. Various classical dance forms are shown in this festival. The temple contains numerous statues of gods and goddesses.
A person touring Gujarat, can witness the architecture and heritage dating back to the Solanki Dynasty’s era. One can get a brief look into the residences and memoirs of ancient time, which mirrors the inventive and creative beauty. The hamlet of Modhera is located on the path that leads to the Goddess’s Bahucharaji’s temple. It is located at a distance of 35 Kms from Mehsana. Modhera is surrounded by the River Pushpavati creating an amazing background. Many terra-formed gardens, full of booming flowers and chirping of birds, creates a perfect ambience for a vacation.
It is easy to picturize in the mind, the images of the ancient era with the many sculptures present here. One finds himself to sit back and enjoy the nature surrounding this place and the human mind opens up to the many historical relics found here. The ruins of Modhera’s Sun Temple date back to the time period, when honoring nature’s elements such as fire, air, earth, water and sky were at the maximum height. It was so believed that the main force and energy of the cycle of life is the powerful link between the nature’s elements and human. The visitors can feel the closeness to the nature because of the radiation of energy, when one takes a stroll in and around the temple grounds.
The era of the Solanki Dynasty was considered to be the Gujarat’s Golden Age. The expertise of the artisans of the Solanki Period was depicted in the finely constructed and carved temple and the spectacularly built kund. In order to relax and enjoy away from the busy city life, Modhera offers a perfect vacationing spot. One finds himself travelling back to the grandiose time of the Golden Era in the presence of the serene and calming backdrop in which the village is located and the grandiose temple grounds.
THINGS TO SEE
Architecture: The architectural design of the temple is unique and has its own charm. The design of the temple includes three distinct but axially aligned and integrated elements. The structure of the temple has been planned so that the image of Lord Surya gets the first rays of the Sun. Mahmud Ghazni invaded the temple; however the magnificence and richness of the temple haven’t decreased a bit. The ruins, however small it is, will always make the visitors attracted to it.
The grandiose and magnificent structure of the Temple has been constructed on an elevated ground. The archways, named Toranas, exceed the importance of the present of the spires, called shikhars. The skill of the artisans of the old era is displayed on the carvings and engravings on the outer walls of the temple. Carvings of different Gods, Goddesses, birds, animals and flowers enveloped every nook and corner of the temple. Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and Guda Mandap are the three constituents of the Sun Temple.
Surya Kund: Just in front of the temple, a deep tank with steps is situated called the Surya Kund. The name Surya Kund was derived from the name of Lord Surya, the Sun God. The main function of this tank was to preserve water. The area of this tank, which is rectangle in shape, is 100 square meters. Prior to heading towards the temple, the visitors coming to worship in the temple used to make a stop here in order to wash and clean themselves. As many as 108 shrines and even more than that are present on the stairs of this tank. The shrines are for Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Sheetala Mata and others. The entrance point to the Sabha Mandap has a big ‘torana’, which is an archway.
Sabha Mandap: As the name suggests, Sabha Mandap hosts several religious meetings and seminars. This hall is an open place, unclose from all the sides. As many as 52 numbers of intricately carved pillars are present in this hall. These engravings refer to the tales from Ramayana, Mahabharata and also glimpses from Lord Krishna’s life. Through a passage surrounded with numerous arches and pillars, one has to pass in order to reach the Holy of the Holies.
Guda Mandap: A lotus-bottomed plinth provides foundation for the Guda Mandap, which is the Holy of the Holies. The idol of the Sun God was one present in this hall. The structure of the temple has been planned so that the image of Lord Surya gets the first rays of the Sun, during the equinoxes. Although Mahmud Ghazni invaded this place, still the 12 aspects of the Sun God of each month in a year are reflected on these walls. The cycle of life and death of human life is mirrored on these walls. The structure of the hall has been restored and reinstated in the past few years. However the Guda mandap’s roof had been fragmented.
HOW TO REACH
By rail: Mehsana has the closest the railway station. The distance between Modhera and Mehsana is 25 Kms.
By air: Ahmedabad has the closest air terminal. Various parts of India are connected to Modhera via this airport.
By road: Private taxis and buses provide services.