Modhera Sun Temple which is located in Gujarat, is one of the least known temples of India and is indeed a hidden gem. As the name suggests, it is a temple dedicated to the Surya Dev (Sun God) and its approximately 100 years old.
In this blogpost, let me take you guys down the memory lane when I visited the Modhera Sun Temple. I was on a short trip to Ahmedabad a few years ago, during Navratri (the month of October) which is by the way the best time to visit the state of Gujarat, as its so vibrant. We’d planned an early morning visit to the Modhera Sun Temple as suggested by one of our group members, who’s an architect himself. Little did I know, this place will have me completely enchanted ever since.
And that’s why through this article, I am going to give you our top five reasons to visit and experience the Sun Temple at Modhera and you should definitely add this in your travel bucket list.
Important information about Modhera Sun Temple
How to Reach Modhera
By Road: Modhera Sun Temple is easily accessible from Ahmedabad or any other city or town of Gujarat. It lies at a distance of 98 Kms approximately from Ahmedabad.
By Train: The nearest railway station is at Mehsana which is 25 km from Modhera.
By Air: One can fly to Ahmedabad airport and take local bus or cabs to reach Modhera Sun Temple.
Where to stay in Modhera
One can choose to stay either in Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar, as they offer the best options. Another option is to stay in Patan, but the options here are quite limited.
Best time to visit Modhera Sun Temple
As it is a Sun Temple, the best time of the day to visit it is early in the morning before or during the sunrise. Of course you’ll get to experience the most of the place when visited at this time.
Also, choose the colder months to visit the Sun Temple as it will be a pleasant weather.
Every year in January, after Makar Sankranti festival, the Gujarat Tourism hosts a three- day dance festival known as Uttarardha Mahotsav. This festival celebrates and promotes artistic talent of India. One can choose to visit Modhera Sun Temple during this festival so as to experience it in a vibrant atmosphere too.
Here are our Top Five Reasons to Visit the Modhera Sun Temple
1. It’s an Architectural Marvel
The whole temple which is pillared is built on a base that has lotus- shaped structure. The stone walls of the temple are filled with intricate carvings which represent tales about our culture right from Ramayana to Mahabharata, also from human lifecycle to Kamasutra.
The temple is divided into two segments, the Surya Kund (the step well), the Sabha Mandapa (the assembly hall) and the Guda Mandapa (the main sanctum).
The Surya Kund, i.e. the step well is four stories below the ground, which was designed to be used as a water reservoir. The step well is adorned with 108 miniature temples which are placed either in the corners or in between these steps.
Then comes the Sabha Mandapa, i.e. the assembly hall which was used for religious gatherings and was essentially built for pilgrims who visited the temple.
The third and important part is the Guda Mandapa or the sanctum sanctorum, to which one reaches after crossing the passage adorned with intricately carved pillars and arches. It is said this used to bear the idol of the Sun God, which was plundered By Mahmud Ghazni in later years. The Surya Kund i.e. the huge water tank in front of the temple is also an architectural marvel.
2. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Modhera Sun Temple was constructed in the early 11th century, under the reign of King Bhima I from the Chalukya dynasty. Modhera has also found mentions in the history pages of Skanda Puran and Brahma Puran. One woukd be shocked to know that this temple was crafted even before the infamous Konark Sun Temple of Orissa.
Modhera is also said to be blessed by Lord Rama, and the surrounding areas of it have said to be referred to as Dharmaranya i.e. the forest of righteousness.
The Sun Temple pf Modhera was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2014. The Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken the temple and its premises for renovation and restoration.
And you’ll be shocked to know that this extraordinary piece of art was crafted even before the Konark Temple of Orissa.
3. A temple that worships the Sun
Built on the banks of Pushpavati River, the temple which was originally dedicated to the Sun God now stands obsolete today as no worship is offered there anymore.
The main temple faces the east direction so that the sun rays lit the idol which was carved in the main shrine. You will be amazed to know that the temple was constructed in such a way that during every equinox, the first sun rays would fall on a diamond placed on the Sun God’s head which result in the whole temple filled with a golden glow.
The temple has intricate carvings depicting the sun and its unity with earth’s elements – air, water, soil and space.
4. The beautiful Stepwell
The temple stands in front of a huge rectangular tank called the Surya Kund (also sometimes refered as Rama Kund). Surya Kund was built so that the temple visitors could take a dip before entering the temple.
The tank was also an ingenious way to store rain water for longer durations and future usage which was an effective water storage method used in these arid parts of India.
The steps that lead down to the tank are adorned with several small shrines. There are 108 such shrines on these steps. These are shrines that are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and other deities.
5. The spellbinding serenity
Being located on the outskirts of the city, the road trip to Modhera Sun Temple is full of serene grasslands and very peaceful. As we visited this place in October, the morning air was crisp with cold.
The whole temple complex is a very serene place and the whole atmosphere is filled with positivity. Also, since its away from the city hustle, the place is almost always empty and you can enjoy the whole temple complex as per your own time and taste.
Being a secluded place and away from the main city makes this an ideal travel destination during the current situation of corona-virus pandemic.
If you are planning any travels during this time or in near future, we highly recommend the Modhera Sun Temple.
I would like to summarise this post by saying that the Sun Temple of Modhera is quite an underrated place and is not big on the tourist circuit. This is a piece from our vibrant history and a true marvel of art and architecture and must be preserved and promoted to more people.
Through this blogpost of ours, I hope we have encouraged some of you to visit the Modhera Sun Temple and many other underrated hidden gems in future.
We have also done a similar blogpost on Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda in Darjeeling, and it has received a lot of love and appreciation. Make sure to read more of our blog posts and all travel guides.
We would love to know if you all are aware of any such hidden gems.