26th December 2011
After breakfast, we left LRK and headed towards Modhera 50km away. The taxi this time moved faster and within an hour we were at the entrance of Modhera Sun Temple.
Modhera Sun Temple was built in 1026 AD by Bhimdev I of Solanki dynasty. It was time when Gujarat was under severe attacks from foreign forces led by Mahmud Ghazni. The Temple survived his attacks but finally destroyed by Allaunddin Khilji. But luckily enough of Temple is left to show its lost grandeur.
ASI has done a great job of maintaining the Temple. The great Temple looms large as you walk along the gardens in front of it. A huge step well is constructed in the front of the Temple. Known as Surya Kund, it is a large rectangular shaped well with amazing steps constructed. There are about 108 small Temples carved between these steps. Unfortunately the water in the tank is stale and green.
Two pillars stand isolated next to the tank.
Between the tank and the Temple are two huge ornamental arches called Toran.
The Temple itself is divided into two parts, Sabha Mantap and the Sactum. Sabha Mantap is the first part of the Temple. It is a hall with magnificently carved pillars. With entrance from all four side, it looks like the place was meant for discussions and resting. The carvings are intricate which depicts the epics of Mahabharatha and Ramayana.
The Main Temple is based on inverted lotus base plinth. It was designed in such a way so that rays of the sun on the day of equinox fell on the idol of the sun. It is said that the idol was made of pure gold of sun riding of chariot. Such things cannot escape from the hands of Mahmud Ghazni in those days. So, we do not see any gold idols now.
The Temple also has lot of erotic carvings.
When I visited Hanley (In my Ladakh trip) the only other tourists in the village were Ravi and his friend from Bhopal. And now while walking on the main path of Modehra Sun Temple, we meet again!! In Ladakh I was with my friends and he was with his friend. Now, we both visit Gujarat with our families and happen to see each other!! Statistically, chances of such rare “encounters” are almost zero. But what a co-incidence!!!! Needless to say both of us were pleasantly surprised.