Modhera is located in the western Indian state of Gujarat. The town extends between the latitude 23.42° in the North to longitude 72.37° in the East. The place is well connected to other places in the region with a good network of roads.
According to the Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana, the areas near Modhera were known during ancient days as Dharmaranya. These Puranas mention that after defeating Ravana, Lord Rama asked Muni Vasistha to show him a place of pilgrimage where he could go and purify himself from the sin of 'Brahma-hatya' (the sin of killing a Brahmin). Muni Vasistha showed him a Dharmaranya, which was near the modern town of Modhera. In the Dharmaranya, he settled at a village Modherak and performed a yagna there. Thereafter he established a village and named it Sitapur. This village is about 8 km from Becharaji Modherak village and it subsequently came to be known as Modhera.
The Sun Temple was built by Raja Bhimdev I of Solanki lineage (who were believed to be Suryavanshis) in AD 1026. The temple bears some resemblance to the more renowned Sun Temple of Konark, which it predates by some 200 years. Like the temple at Konark, it was so designed that the first rays of the sun fell on the image of Surya, the Sun God, at the time equinoxes. The temple is partially in ruins, but despite the passage of time, it continues to reveal the architectural genius, the sculptor's virtuosity, and, of course, the devotional fervor of the times.
Fairs & Festivals
The Sun Temple is the site of an annual festival of Indian classical dances organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat. The idea is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere they were originally presented in. The festival is held in the month of January every year.
Best Time to Visit
Modhera is a quaint village in Gujarat that is well-known for its Sun temple. Though the place can be visited all around the year but the summers can be slightly harsh and the winters, quite pleasant. The best time to visit Modhera is between the months of October and March when the temperature falls in the range of 12 degree Celsius and 27 degree Celsius. This is a great time for sightseeing and other activities. The summer months of April to June are pretty sunny and dry. The temperatures go as high as 41 degree Celsius with minimum temperature being around 20 degree Celsius. In spite of the heat, people do visit the place as there are several discounts. Rains knock on the door of Modhera from July till September. If you love monsoon you can come to Modhera.
How to Reach
BY AIR -The nearest airport is Ahmedabad around 102 km away. Ahmedabad is connected by most of the domestic airlines with other important cities in the country.
BY RAIL -Becharaji, situated around 16 km from Modhera, is the nearest railway station. Another convenient railway station from this place is Mahesena. There are regular trains to Ahmedabad from this place.
BY ROAD -There are regular buses from Modhera to other destinations of the region including Ahmedabad and Mahesena.
The Sun Temple at Modhera is the main attraction of the town. The ancient temple has a number of sites worth exploring.
- First is the Surya Kund. The fascinating massive rectangular stepped-tank is said to have been full of water believed to be holy. Devotees paid a visit to the tank for ceremonial bathing before worship at the temple. Presently, the Archeological Survey of India is responsible for the upkeep and the tank is kept dry.
- As water was a worshipped commodity, there are a number of shrines around the Kund. The 108 miniature temples coincide with the number considered to be auspicious by the Hindus. Besides these, there are four larger shrines dedicated to Vishnu, Ganesha, Shiva and Sitala Mata. The last mentioned name, is said to be the goddess of the dreaded disease smallpox and centuries back was worshipped to keep the illness at bay.
- Sabha Mandap, described as "a magnificent style of pillared splendor" is one of the prime attractions in Modhera. Built for religious gatherings, the hall is open on all sides with four doorways. The unique walnut-shaped ceiling is supported by 52 spectacular pillars, each of them intricately carved with tales from Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Krishna Leela (the childhood antics of Lord Krishna). The skill of the artisans of the Solankis are nothing less than marvelous.
- The Guda Mandap is an incredible structure. It is known for a surang (tunnel), which is believed to lead to Patan, the headquarters of the Solankis. In case of attacks or emergencies, these tunnels provided the ideal escape routes for the kings and members of the royal family to flee to safety.
Places Around Modhera
- Unjha, 40 km from Modhera is a little town and a base for those visiting the Modhera temple. It is known for the marriage customs of the Kadwakanbis who live in this region.
- At a distance of 62 km, Sidhpur is where one can find the very fragmented ruins of an ancient temple.
- Mahesena is around 34 km away from Modhera with historical sites including a step-well.