It precedes the extraordinary Konark Sun temple of Odisha (a UNESCO Globe Heritage Internet site) by more than 200 years. It has withstood the test of time, components and a lot of attacks. And nonetheless, it stands tall and bears testament to our wealthy previous exactly where we had been technologically sophisticated, exceled in engineering, vaastu, design and style, astronomy, geography, optics, physics, water harvesting and so a great deal a lot more. And all this occurred in the 10th and 11th century when a spectacular piece of design and style and architecture was made suitable on the Tropic of Cancer line. I am speaking about the majestic Sun temple that is positioned in a little village named Modhera in the Mahesana district of North West Gujarat.
About the above video: A detailed walkthrough of the completely stunning Modhera Sun Temple. The video is ~eight minutes of inventive gorgeousness from the 10th century. I have attempted to capture all the many facets to give you a superior appear and really feel of this spectacular temple. Do mute if you do not like my voice more than, even though I assume if you listen, you will get to know a lot a lot more about 1 of India’s wealthy heritage gems.
India has so a great deal wealthy history and culture that begs to be explored, seasoned and appreciated. The Modhera Sun temple, even even though it does not carry a UNESCO Globe Heritage web site tag, is 1 such spot that deserves to be on the radar of all temple, art, history and culture lovers. Soon after all, such monuments are our pride and we should really see them and get to know a lot more about them so that we can proudly speak about our wealthy heritage with our family members, good friends and the rest of the globe.
Temple History and its connection with Solar Calendar
Constructed through the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the 10th century, the Modhera Sun temple is committed to the sun god and its design and style revolves about the solar calendar. For instance, it has 365 elephants at its base, which denotes the 365 days in a year. Then, there are 52 intricately carved pillars in the Sabhamandapa or assembly hall, which denotes the 52 weeks in a year. Then, circumventing the temple complicated are 12 statues of the sun god denoting the diverse elements of Surya in every month of the year. And it denotes the many gods and goddesses primarily based on the directions they represent. For instance, Lord of fire (Agni) in South East, Lord of wind (Vayu) in North West, Lord of water (Varuna or Indra) in the West and so on. Each and every minute element of this temple design and style pays heed to the directions, the play of light (sun light in diverse months of the year), vaastu and visual appeal.
Temple Design and style and Surya Kund
The temple complicated is constructed in Maru-Gurjara or Chalukya style exactly where it has 3 axially aligned elements the principal shrine (garbhagriha) in a hall (gudhamandapa), the assembly hall (sabhamandapa) in front of it and the sacred Surya kund (reservoir) in front of it. As quickly as you enter the temple complicated following obtaining your tickets, you will stroll by way of a green space that 1st leads to this huge Surya Kund or temple reservoir that has 108 little temples representing the auspicious 108 quantity of Rudraksha beads. Historically, people today would take a bath in this Surya Kund, give their prayer to the gods in these 108 temples ahead of generating their way to the principal garbhagriha by way of the Sabhamantapa.
The sabhamantapa, whose methods are connected to the Surya Kund is a structure that is separate from that of the principal Sun temple. Each and every corner of this assembly hall is a visual delight. Each and every bit of it from the base mouldings, wall mouldings to the ceiling and pillars are intricately carved and ornamented with floral styles, figures of dancers and gods and a complete bunch of mythological stories. Modest gatherings and dance performances had been organized right here and there are a lot of elevated platforms exactly where you could sit and watch these performances.
Now, the principal temple complicated is created up of two components garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum and gudhamandapa or the outer complicated of the temple.
There are two critical characteristics of this garbhagriha. One particular, on solar equinox days (September 22-23 recognized as September Equinox and March 20-21 recognized as March Equinox), the 1st rays of the increasing sun fall straight on the diamond positioned on the head of the statue of Lord Surya and then this light would bounce off the walls to illuminate the whole sanctum sanctorum. Second, on summer time solstice day (June 20-21 also recognized as June solstice), the sun shines straight above the temple at noon casting no shadow. These precise calculations had been created 1,200 years ago when the understanding of optics, stars, earth’s revolution and mathematics had been restricted and a lot of the globe as we know these days had been hunter gatherers. Quite astounding, suitable? This diamond can be now located in a museum in London.
As opposed to the garbhagriha, which is quite plain in design and style, each inch of the Gudhamandapa is intricately carved. The base moulding has two square members followed by a cymarecta carving (decrease portion convex and upper portion concave). Then, there is the inverted lotus (padma) above it and then the antarita and chhaja. Then, there is the layer of elephants and then figures of guys. The wall moulding or mandovara begins with kumbha, kalasha, kevala, manchi and jangha. Then there are the figures of dancers, gods and other folks. The figures of the Sun god holding lotuses in his arms and driven by his seven horses are the most prominent of all the figures. There are 12 such prominent figures of the sun god, denoting him in every month (from Mesh (Aries) to Meena (Pisces). And just beneath and beside the Sun god are the figures of other gods – Vishwakarma, Varuna, Agni, Ganesha, Saraswati, and so forth. primarily based on the directions that they represent.
Then, there is a victory arch like elevated creating on the North East corner of the temple (Isana path). This would have been the principal entrance point to the temple, but as it is in ruins these days, most guests take a look at from the East path, which 1st leads to the Surya Kund and then to the assembly hall and the principal temple.
As you can see from the pictures and the video, the Modhera Sun temple is an absolute delight and I assume 1 take a look at is not sufficient to realize its correct beauty and history. Do avail the solutions of a knowledgeable guide to realize and appreciate its history, design and style and engineering marvels superior. Each and every figure, figurine, statue, carving and design and style components adds to its aura and the general impact can be pretty overwhelming. It is greatest to do a bit of reading about this spot ahead of you go there so that you can ask all the suitable inquiries to your guide. This temple finds mention in the Skanda and Brahma Purana and in a complete bunch of other literary texts and certainly a lot on the internet as a lot of people today have researched, learnt and documented the history, culture and heritage of this spot.
And when you are there, attempt to see and realize the many components of vaastu, optics, earth’s rotation, solar calendar, engineering, water harvesting and design and style at diverse sections of this architectural marvel. Modhera Sun Temple is bound to leave you spellbound and speechless! It is a wealthy portion of our heritage and the pride of all us Indians!
How to attain Modhera Sun Temple:
The nearest international and domestic airport is Ahmedabad. Modhera is about a two hour drive from Ahmedabad.
A lot of lengthy distance train solutions can be located at Ahmedabad, but the closest big railway station would be Mahesana. A lot of trains traveling north of Ahmedabad pass by way of this railway station.
The nearest bus station would also be Mahesana. Mahesana to Modhera is about 25 kms and it requires about 30 minutes if you are driving.
It is greatest to have your personal mode of transportation for final mile connectivity.
Exactly where to keep:
If you are hunting for luxury, it is greatest to keep at Ahmedabad and discover the Modhera Sun temple as a day trip from Ahmedabad. If price range to mid variety accommodation performs fine, you can either keep at Mahesana or Patan and then make a quick 45 minute drive to Modhera. If rural stays are your factor, appear up the homestays on AirBnB that are run by the rural girls of Gujarat along with AirBnB and a neighborhood NGO.
7 AM to six PM. It is greatest to attain the temple just ahead of 7 AM in case you want to photograph the stunning facets and sculptures of the temple in the soft golden glow of the morning light.
Nearby Tourist Attractions:
1) Rani Ki Vav, the queen of stepwells at Patan
two) The 900 year Patola saree getting created at Patan
three) The Heritage town of Siddhpur
four) India’s only UNESCO Globe Heritage city of Ahmedabad