Sun Temple, Modhera

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Sun Temple, Modhera
Sun Temple, Modhera
Basic information
Location Modhera
Geographic coordinates 23°25′N 72°22′E / 23.42°N 72.37°E / 23.42; 72.37Coordinates: 23°25′N 72°22′E / 23.42°N 72.37°E / 23.42; 72.37
District Mehsana
State Gujarat
Country India

Sun Temple, Modhera, at Modhera in Gujarat, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati, 25 km from Mehsana and 102 km from Ahmedabad.[1] It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. In the present times, prayers are not offered in this temple. This temple is now under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India.It represents a nagara style of temple construction.


The Sun Temple was built by Bhimdev I of Solanki dynasty in 1026.[2]


Plan of Temple and Reservoir

Surya Kund[edit]

Panoramic view of the Surya Kund

Reservoir deities[edit]

There are four terraces to descend to reach the bottom of the tank. Small pyramid-shaped steps are for each terrace. God and Goddess depicted in immortalized stone unfold the sculpture wealth: Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesh, Lord Nataraja, Sitlamata's presence a marvel created during Solanki era.

Two huge ornamental arches called Toran forms a gateway to the Sabha Mandap (assembly hall)/{aztaca}.

Sabha Mandap[edit]

The Sabha Mandap with ornately carved pillars and ceiling

This hall of religious gatherings is a magnificent pillared hall. It is open from all sides and has 52 intricately carved pillars representing 52 weeks in a year. The carvings depict episodes from the Hindu epics of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Krishna Lila (i.e., story of Lord Krishna).

Between the Sabha Mandapa and the sanctum sanctorum is a beautiful hall with pillars and arches, whose facade has been renovated and partially redone. The walls have 12 niches showing the different aspects of the Sun God in each month.

Sanctum sanctorum[edit]

The Guda Mandap

This is called the main temple or the Sanctum sanctorum. Lotuses open with sunrise and close itself with sunset; it is considered to be the sun's flower. The entire temple is therefore based on an inverted lotus-base plinth. It was designed so that the rays of the rising and setting sun on the day of Summer solstice 21 June and not equinox (20 March and 21 September generally) fell on the bejeweled pure gold idol of Sun riding on his chariot driven by Saarthi Arun. Sun's chariot has seven horses and Saarthi Arun sits on the fourth. The entire gold idol (including the charioteer, chariot and horses) was placed on a pit that was 15 feet deep and filled with gold coins. It was built by the Solankis in honour of their ancestral God. It was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni. The entire gold idol was taken away by him.


The exterior of the temple walls has 12 different postures of Adityas - Sun God along with eight Dikpals, Lord Vishwakarma - who constructed Golden Dwarka city for Shri Krishna, Varundev - God of Water, Agnidev - God of Fire, Ganesh - God for starting, Mata Saraswati - Goddess of Education & Wisdom.

Erotic sculptures[edit]

All important religions of India like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism have presented erotic motifs in their art. It was seen as an act that brought about fertility. Hence at this temple a most profound depiction of sexual iconography is displayed, at the exterior walls of the main temple itself.

Erotic motifs in Indian temples are not meant for artistic sculptures. The errotic motifs were meant for training the minds of the Jain aspirants. These young aspirants have to be celibates throughout their lives. Therefore, they must have a knowledge of sexual acts. The aspirants are given chance to think about remaining celibate. Various theories are there right from challenging aspirants to not go to toughest part of celibates to artistic erotic sculptures being seen as very normal and normal revered human nature which commanded reverence and admiration.

Modhera dance festival[edit]

The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat organises an annual three-day dance festival at the temple each January, following the festival of Uttarayan. The objective is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere similar to that in which they were originally presented.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Modhera Sun Temple". Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Sun-Temple at Modhera (Gujarat)". Retrieved 9 April 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Surya: The God and His Abode, Parijat, 2010, ISBN 81-903561-7-8
  • Lobo, Wibke, The Sun-temple at Modhera: A monograph on architecture and iconography (Forschungen zur allgemeinen und vergleichenden Archäologie)
  • Burgess, Jas & Cousens, Henry, The Architectural Antiquities of Northern Gujrat, Bharatiya Publishing House, Varanasi, 1975
  • Brown Percy, Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Periods), D.B. Taraporewala Sons & Co. Ltd. Bombay, 1975
  • Sankalia, Hasmukh. D., The Archaeology of Gujarat (Including Katiawar), Natwarlal & Co. Publishers, Bombay, 1941
  • Majumdar, Ashok Kumar, Chaulukyas of Gujarat, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, 1956.
  • an inside look at the glorious sun temple at modhera, published by TCGL, Gandhinagar, 2001.

External links[edit]