Sun salutation at Modhera temple

India is famous for its temples; there are temples for and about many things. One of them is the Sun! According to ancient literature, Indians (specifically Hindus) refer to sun as unlimited energy storage. Hence in olden times, sun temples were constructed to revere the sun god. Over 10 temples are present in various parts of India for sun salutation. Apart from India, sun temples are found in other countries like Egypt, Peru, Japan and China. Having been to Konark Sun temple already, I eagerly wanted to visit Modhera. Hence a weekend road trip was planned.

Modhera temple
The Modhera Sun temple

With marvelous architecture having intricate carvings, sun temples were designed in such a way that the sun’s rays illuminate the sanctum during equinox. I cannot imagine an engineer who thought about this somewhere in the year 1026 and executed it with such skilled craftsmanship.

How to Reach?

Modhera is located approximately 98 kms from Ahmedabad and one can self drive there or take a public bus to reach. Unfortunately the train connectivity is absent.

Entry Fees:

Rs. 15 for Indians and Rs. 200 for foreign tourists

Car parking extra – Rs. 20 per car

About Modhera Sun temple:

The first look of the Modhera Sun temple is what makes one fall in love with it! The beautiful reflection of the temple in a large tank built in front of it! We are immediately surrounded by guides who offer themselves to educate us with all the information about the temple. After a good deal, we cave in.

Like a pre recorded tape recorder he goes on to say:

The Sun Temple is divided into three parts namely Surya Kund (step well), Sabha Mandap (assembly hall) and Guda Mandap (main sanctum). The main temple faces east so that the rays of the sun lit the idol carved in the main shrine. The temple is depiction of sun and its unity with earth’s elements – air, water, soil & space.

Intricate carving on wall of Modhera temple
Intricate carving on wall of Modhera temple

He takes us around the temple first to show the carvings on the temple walls adorned with deities, birds, flowers and various stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Now adorned by the pigeons (we also spotted a spotted owlet there – yaay the wildlife me!) and their droppings, there are idols symbolizing God Indra, Varuna and Vishwakarma. There are many erotic carvings on the wall like Konark which symbolize the human cycle of birth and death.

We then enter a beautifully carved arch to reach the Sabha Mandap which stands on 52 pillars and depicts 52 weeks in a year.

Few pillars out of the 52 pillars at Modhera temple
Few pillars out of the 52 pillars

The guide then points to the main temple and says the idol was robbed by Mahmud Ghazni who took the original idol that was carved in gold. The temple was later destroyed by Alauddin Khilji. Even though the temple is restored now, there is no idol in temple. It would have been a world famous tourist site to witness the sunlight falling on the diamond on the head on sun god which would reflect and light up other idols places in the sanctum. Damn you Khilji!

The main sanctum at modhera temple
The main sanctum

At last we reach the step well which is 4 stories below the ground. Used as a water reservoir, the well is adorned with 108 miniature temples in the corners and in between these steps. The guide bids adieu after a guided 45 minutes tour to bask in the glory of Sun for some mind blowing photography.

The step well at modhera temple
The step well

Sustainable travel tips:

  • Being an ancient heritage site which is already dwindling with age, respect the structures by not sitting on them. Sit outside the temple in the garden.
  • Do not harm the structures by carving or writing on it
  • Do not enter places which are closed off, there’s a reason why they are closed.
  • Throw your garbage in the dustbins located at the entrance of each temple.

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24 thoughts on “Sun salutation at Modhera temple

  1. Beautiful temple complex and your photos show the building off beautifully. I lived in Asia for almost 18 years, and love the differences between temples from country to country. I always spend a lot of time looking at the intricate carvings. I always wonder how something so old can have such detail. Great post!

    1. Thanks nancie. You should definitely come to India is you love architecture. And yes it is indeed amazing how temples are so famous in Asia and each country in do different.

  2. This place is stunning! I love all of those pillars for each week of the year. And that sucks the jewel was stolen that would’ve been a site to see!

  3. Interesting that it’s that much of a difference for locals! We have a really nice historical chapel where I live, and it’s always been free, but they have had some issues so they started charging for it. Local people are really annoyed because it was always a place you could just stop at on your way home or on a day out, but now they don’t want to pay each time! I think locals should have a cheaper rate like this.

  4. I belong to Gujarat and I must say Modhera temple is jewel of Gujarat. This temple has intricate sculpture and carvings on its walks and pillar. You have given all vital information regarding this place. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow, I just love all of that detail that went into making those pillars! It’s hard to imagine that it has survived until today and still looks fantastic.

  6. Those carvings are exquisite! I love that you included sustainable travel tips—so important to be mindful when visiting ancient sites like this. Thank you for sharing!

  7. The carvings are so beautiful. It always blows my mind how much craftsmanship goes into Indian temples! I would have been giggling at the naughty ones though. It is such a shame that the idol is gone but I’d have probably been tempted to walk off with the gold too.

  8. There’s so much detail in the walls of the temple, seems so majestic as well. Would love to visit and explore in the future.

  9. The temple has a incredible architectural design looks amazing! I wanna go there someday i like going to different temples! Thanks for this!

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