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Balaram | Little Rann of Kutch | Lothal | Modhera | Nal Sarovar | Patan | Pawagarh | Shanku’s Water Park | Taranga

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MODHERA

99 kms from Ahmedabad, the 11th century Sun temple of Modhera is easily one of the finest examples of devotional in western India. Built by the Solanki Rajput kings, the aid of donations from the people, the temple features carved torana arches mounted on kirti stambhas (pillars of victory) as the entrances, a large rectangular stepped with 108 smaller shrines, an exquisite 52 pillared portico,  beautiful domed central portion and a sanctum sanctoruim designed so that the sun light fell on the bejewelled statue of the God, specially at sunrise during the equinox. The exterior of temple is carved with traditional erotic scenes, rivalling at Konark and Khajurao, and depictions of various Gods and, while inside are friezes of the Mahabharata and portrayed on the pillars. The temple is framed by a well garden, and sits on the banks of river Pushpawati. There is a cafeteria here run by the Tourism corporation of India tea, and a PWD Guest House.

The golden period of  architecture in   Gujarat  came  during the  rule  of  the Solanki  dynasty, with  some splendid  architectural  wonders  coming  up  during  the  9th-12th  century. Forts  at  Dabhoi  and Jhinjwada, the Hindu  temples  of Modhera, Somnath(earlier  incarnation), Ghumli, Gope, Bileshwar, Kera  and Shamlaji, the Jain temples  of  Girnar,Kumbhariyaji,Mt Abu  and Taranga,  and  attractive  places  for  harvesting  water-Brahma kund at  Sihore, Sahasralings  talao  at  Patan, Munsar  tank  at  Viramgam,  the  stepwells  of Patan  and Ghumli-came up  during  this  golden era.   The most  importanty  of  this period  is Modhera,  the Sun temple   built in 1026 AD by Bhimadeva of the Solanki Rajput clan which ruled the whole of what is now known as Gujarat and neighbouring parts of Rajputana and Malwa from the 8th to the 13th century, before losing to their relatives the

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Sun  temple

Waghelas and later submitting entirely to Muslim rule.The work of building the temple was commissioned to the Silavat stone masons, who did not make any designs on paper but followed certain hereditary principals of architecture and astronomy, and using simple carving tools, they  had an amazing ability to make  the hardest stone take on the quality of delicate wood carving, as amply demonstrated in  the  marble temples of Dilwara and the sandstone mansions of Jaisalmer. Their crafts were  well guarded secrets, passed on only from father to son, and being secular by nature, they also worked on some of the fabulous Indo-Saracenic mosques of the Ahmed Shahi sultanate in Ahmedabad, combining Islamic architecture with plenty of Hinduistic ornamantation.

The Sun temple is not very large or as imposing as may be supposed by those who have seen other Hindu temples in India, but even from a distance it is obvious that it is covered by intricate carvings  of Gods, Goddesses, men, women and animals in numbers out  of all proportion to its actual size, and is a true gem in the architectural annals of India. The whole is outclassed by the incredible  rectangular step tank or Surya kund, a majestic 100 sq meter rectangular pond, with  interesting shrines, said to total 108 in all, the auspicious number  of flowers on a garlandLarger shrines  to Vishnu, Ganesha and the Natraja incarnation of Shiva in Tandav stand on  3 sides of the Surya Kund, with the Sabha mandap  of the principal temple soaring on the fourth side, to remind you that this is the domain of the Sun God.

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Sun temple, Modhera

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Balaram | Little Rann of Kutch | Lothal | Modhera | Nal Sarovar | Patan | Pawagarh | Shanku’s Water Park | Taranga

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