Sun Temple Modhera | History, Architecture & Festivals

The Modhera Sun Temple, also known as Modhera Surya Mandir in Gujarat, is one of the few shrines dedicated to Lord Surya. It is one of the most visitors attractions in Gujarat that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Situated on the River Pushpavati in Modhera, this temple is a magnificent structure dedicated to Lord Surya. Sun Temple’s timings are from 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM.

Sun Temple 

One of India’s most magnificent carved temples, the Sun Temple in Modhera Gujarat, is a prominent shrine dedicated to the Hindu Sun God. Although no longer worshipped here, Modhera holds a special place in the history and culture of Gujarat and is a must-visit place in Ahmedabad.

lord surya

The modhera Sun Temple is a complete package of mesmerising history, exquisite architecture and an extensive overview of Indian culture.

If you love art, architecture and history, this Sun Temple in Gujarat is the perfect Indian destination.

What is the History of Sun Temple?

The Modhera Sun Temple had built-in 1026 by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty and had believed to be Lord Surya’s descendant.

We can find mention of Modhera in sacred texts such as the Skanda Purana and the Brahma Purana. It is popularly known as Dharmaranya, Dharma Vana and is said to have been blessed by Lord Rama.

Architecture

Sun Temple Modhera’s magnificent architecture is one of its class. The temple consists of three distinct elements that are latitudinal.

Mohammad Ghazni attacked the temple; the architectural glory has not diminished. Temple Built on a high platform, this temple looks divine with its impressive architecture.

The temple complex had built in the Maru-Gurjara style, also known as the Solanki style. The exterior walls had decorated with intricate carvings. Every inch had filled with sculptures of gods, goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers.

There is a Deep stair tank in front of Surya Kund Mandir. Named after Lord Surya (Sun God), they used this 100 square meters rectangular tank to store water in ancient times.

Devotees stop here for ceremonial purification before entering the temple. Nearly 108 monuments mark this tank staircase.

surya madir

They had dedicated Ganesha, Shiva, Sita Mata, and many others. Sabha Mandap refers to the Assembly Hall, where all religious meetings and conventions had held. Fifty-two pillars had skillfully carved, open from four sides.

The intricate carvings depict excerpts from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata (Indian epics) and the life of Lord Krishna.

In the Guda Mandapam, Lord Surya’s statue supports a lotus pillar. The structure is carefully aligned so that the statue at Equinox gets the first glimpse of the sun.

Mohammad Ghazni looted the idol, but the walls represent the sun lord on his 12 different faces each month. The carved walls also depict stages of human life, such as the birth and death circle.

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Festivals Celebrated

The Sun Temple Modhera hosts the Modhera Dance Festival. The festival had organised to keep the Indian traditions and culture alive. Held in the 3rd week of January every year, the temple complex features classical dance forms that revive the ancient Indian heritage.

What to see at Surya Mandir in Gujarat?

The Modhera Sun Temple had divided into three latitudinal parts:

The main temple is called Guda Mandapa, an assembly hall called Sabha Mandapa and a stair well-style tank called Surya Kund. The temple had built in the Maru-Gurjara style, also known as the Chalukya style.

Upon entering the archaeological site, you will first see the stairwell, its adjoining hall, and niche pavilions.

The walk from the stairwell to the Guda mandapa is referred to in Hindu culture as the walk from death to salvation. Let’s take a more intimate look at each of these three parts.

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Surya Kund or the Step Well:

Surya Kund (also known as Rama Kund) is a step-well-style water tank that marks the start of the temple complex. Formerly the devotees used to bathe here before going to the main temple.

The interesting aspect of Surya Kund is that there are 108 small shrines on its steps. They had dedicated themselves to many other Hindu deities like Ganesha, Nataraja, and Seshasai Vishnu. It is unique and had not commonly found at other step-wells in India.

Sabha Mandapa or the Assembly Hall:

After your tour of Surya Kund, head towards the Assembly Hall or Sabha Mandapa. It is octagonal and is open on all sides. The roof had supported by 52 beautifully carved pillars representing 52 weeks of the year.

These pillars have delicate Torana arches/gateways adorning the entry points. The assembly hall had believed to use for public meetings and religious functions.

Guda Mandapa or the Sanctum Sanctorum:

The last structure in the complex is the Guda Mandapa. It had been designed to house the sanctum sanctorum inside the temple and the idol of the goddess that no longer exists. This hall is also known as the “Pregnancy House“. It had built on a pillar in the shape of an inverted lotus.

Modhera Sun Temple Museum:

If you like to know more about the site’s history and check out the exhibition of archaeological artefacts, visit the Museum at Modhera Sun Temple. It is available every day except Fridays from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Surya Mandir at dusk:

As the sun slowly set, as the sky turned orange, the birds returned to their nests, and the silhouette of the Sun Temple became a beautiful reminder of its glorious past.

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Interesting facts about Modhera Surya Mandir

  • Mandir Sun Temple is located exactly in the Cancer constellation.
  • On equinoxes, this ensures that the first rays of the sun always fall on the feet of the goddess in the inner sanctum.
  • Although there is an idol in the temple, the sun follows the same pattern.
  • In the assembly hall, you will see the 52 pillars that represent the 52 weeks of the year.
  • The magnificent, delicately carved roof of the Sabha Mandapam is a major tourist attraction here.
  • It looks like you’re looking at a fully bloomed upside-down flower.
  • Work on the roof was very complex and may have taken a long time to build in that era.
  • Uttaradh Mahotsav (Modhera Dance Festival) gets its name because the sun moves north (north) towards the end of winter.

Best time to visit Modhera Sun Temple

Summer is hot in western India. Therefore, going to Gujarat in winter is always advisable after the temperatures drop slightly. October-March had considered the best time to visit Modhera. December – January is the best.

This season, the whole place is green, and you can see peacocks in the surrounding park. Also, you can watch the world-famous Modhera Dance Festival in January.

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Entrance fee and hours 

Admission to Modhera Sun Temple is cheaper, INR 25 for Indians and INR 300 for foreigners (as of December 2021). Photography is free, but you cannot set up tripods on ancient structures. You can’t even fly drones. The temple is open daily from 07 AM to 6 PM.

The Museum also houses a museum maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The Museum is open from 10 AM to 05 PM, except on Fridays and public holidays. Ask one of the site’s custodians if you do not find the Museum. They will refer you to it.

How to Reach?

Road: The distance from Ahmedabad to Modhera is 101 km and takes about 1.45 hours. It is 26 km from Mehsana.

Train: The train takes you to Mehsana (30 minutes from Mehsana).

Air: The nearest airport is Ahmedabad.

Address and Contact

MODHERA, Becharaji, Gujarat.

Phone: +91 2734 284 327.

FAQS

1. Why is Lord Surya Modhera Temple famous?

King Bhima of the Chalukya dynasty built the Modhera Sun Temple in the early 11th century. It is a temple built in honour of Lord Surya in the village of Modhera in the district of Mehsana on the banks of the river Pushpavati.

2. How old is Modhera Sun Temple?

The Modhera Sun Temple had built-in 1026 by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty and had believed to be Lord Surya’s descendant.