Sun Temple – The Hindu temple in Modhera

Temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya, was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chaulukya dynasty. No worship is offered now and is protected monument maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.

The temple complex has three components, Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall and Kunda, the reservoir. The halls have intricately carved exterior and pillars. The reservoir has steps to reach the bottom and numerous small shrines.

The temple complex is built in Māru-Gurjara style. The Sabhamandapa is not in continuation with Gudhamandapa but is placed away as a separate structure. Their roofs have collapsed long ago.

Massive pillars leading to the stepped tank outside the temple / Image source

The panels on the Gudhamandapa is decorated with Surya centrally which indicates that the temple is dedicated to Surya. These images wears peculiar West Asian boots and belt. The other corners and niches are decorated with figures of Shiva and Vishnu in various forms, Brahma, Nāga and goddesses. The depicted scenes on small flat ceilings and lintels of sabhamandapa are from epics like Ramayana.

On a block in western wall of cella, there is an inscription upside down carelessly incised in Devnagari script which correspond to 1026-1027 CE. No other date is found.

Due to the position of the inscription, it is not firmly considered as the date of construction. On the stylistic ground, it is known that the Kunda with its corner shrines was built earlier at the beginning of the 11th century. The inscription is rather considered as the date of destruction instead of the construction.

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