The Sun temple of Gujarat is situated at Modhera. It is akin to the Sun Temple at Konark and is dedicated to the Sun God, Lord Surya. Though the temple has lost its glory of the yore, it is still an architectural and art master piece. The temple serves as the venue for the Dance Festival held in January each year. It was built in 1026 AD by the Solanki King Bhimdev I of Patan. The Solankis were Suryavanshis, the descendents of Sun God and therefore built this temple in the honor of Lord Surya. However, the temple was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni.
One of the most striking features of the Modhera Sun temple is that the
first ray of the sun falls on the deity at the time of the equinoxes.
The temple has a unique architecture and consists of a number of other
magnificent buildings in the vicinity. The main buildings are the Surya
Kund, the Sabha Mandap and the Guda Mandap (Sanctum Sanctorum). Apart
from this, there is a beautiful hall in between the Sabha Mandapa and
the Sanctum Sanctorum. It has remarkable pillars and arches and shows
the different aspects of the Sun God in each month.
It is a huge rectangular tank flanked by a series of steps and is said
to be once filled with pure water. The devotees bathed in the tank
before entering the temple to worship the Lord. There are 108 small
shrines surrounding the tank.
It is a huge hall, where once religious meetings used to be held. It is
open on all sides and contains around 52 pillars, all of them being
intricately carved. The carvings depict scenes from the Hindu epics of
Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna Lila (i.e. story of lord Krishna).
Sanctum Sanctorum is the main chamber of the temple. It rests on a
lotus shaped platform and contains the bejeweled idol of Lord Surya. The
chamber was plundered by Mahmud Gazni.