The remains of an ancient Sun Temple at Modhera
draw hundreds of tourists, to this village 30 km south of Patan, near Ahmedabad.
The Sun Temple at Modhera dates back
to early 11th century CE and was built by King Bhimdev I in 1026 CE. It
was during the same period that the Jain temples at Mount Abu were
constructed by Vimal Shah. The Rudra Mahal temple at Siddhapur also dates
back to this period. Also re-constructed at the same time was the Somnath temple at Somnath Patan. Interestingly, the grand Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur in South India
was constructed during the same time.
Even in its ruined state, the sun temple at Modhera
is magnificient.. There is no worship offered here now. . There is no shikhara
either. The temple has a sanctum, a pradakshina patha and a sabha mandap in front.
The exterior of the sanctum has many carved images of
the Sun God, portrayed as wearing a belt and long shoes as in the Dakshinaarka temple at Gaya.
The mandapa in front of the sanctum has beautifully
carved pillars with exquisite toranas adorning the entrances. The exterior of this temple
is intricately carved. This temple has been designed such that the sun's rays
illuminate the sanctum at dawn, during the time of the equinoxes.
In front of the temple is a colossal tank, which was
once known as Surya Kund or Rama Kund. The tank has a
series of carved steps leading to the bottom. Several miniature shrines adorn the steps of
the tank - which is an art gallery in itself.
Modhera is now the site of several
dance and cultural festivals. The sun temple and the ambience here provide a majestic
backdrop for the exhibition of performing arts.
Modhera Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple
Dakshinaarka Sun Temple
Dilwara Temples at Mount Abu