India, a pristine ground of spirituality. Land with 7,000 year-old history, that is held tight to its ancient traditions embedded with fruits of a deep-rooted culture. As one traverses, length and breadth of India, you keep coming across, living spaces and monuments of another time. Which offers an eclectic glimpse of the artistic and ingenious beauty. A smooth drive amidst the green lands 35 kilometres away from Mehsana, you reach Modhera. On the backdrop of River Pushpavati, surrounded by a terra-formed garden of flowering trees and songs of birds, rests the Sun temple of Modhera.
Visiting the exclusively carved Modhera Sun Temple of Gujarat is sure to leave you with a mixed feeling of surprise and anguish. Built on the banks of Pushpavati river, Modhera Sun Temple today stands as an archaic temple where worships aren’t offered anymore. You’ll be shocked to know that this extraordinary piece of art was crafted even before the Konark Temple of Orissa. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chaulukya dynasty. The Solanki period which is famously known as the Golden age of Gujarat. The districts Patan and Mehsana are known to hold legendary past of the Solanki Dynasty. When Mahmud of Ghazni tried to invade the Bhima’s kingdom during 1024-25. On his unsuccessful attempt, this temple is said to be built to commemorate this defence. After that, with the decline in Solanki rule, the worships to the sun decreased.
As you enter the Temple, firstly you will come across the Ramakund. Which is built in a rectangular shape containing 108 shrines to various god. Do not miss checking out the 3 important shrines positioned on different sides of the kund, dedicated to Ganesha, Vishnu, Lord Shiva dancing the ‘tandav’ facing the temple. The Sun covers the fourth side.
Secondly, when you walk up the steps to the ‘Sabha Mandap’ you will be able to notice the sculpted renderings of twelve ‘Adityas’. The twelve representations carved on the pillars represent the sun according to the twelve months. It’s said “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them”.. Make sure you find a priest who has been taking care of the temple, who stays close to it. Request him to narrate the tales and sequences from epics and legends which are carved on the 52 pillars adding grace and poise to the temple section.
Next, visit the Garbagruha, you will definitely feel a spiritual experience. The statue of the sun god no longer exists and the Suryavanshi Solanki’s have been scattered into the dust of history since a thousand years. Yet, one can almost hear the chanting of the prayers, the tinkling of bells.
Visiting Hours: 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM
How to reach:
BY AIR: You can fly to the nearest city “Ahmedabad” and from there bus services are available to reach Modhera.
BY TRAIN: The nearest station is “Mehsana” which is approximately 25km from Modhera. You can get a cab to reach your destination.
BY ROAD: The sun temple can be reached by taking a bus or a cab from anywhere in Gujarat.
Official Gujarat Tourism Website: GT Booking
Check out this youtube video on the Sun Temple.