India’s second Sun Temple is in Surya Temple Modhera. A kunda that surrounds the main sanctum of the temple also known as Suryakunda or Shramakunda. The water in this tank considered to be very holy. Devotees visiting the temple for puja usually touch the water of this tank before performing the puja of Suryadev and collect the required water for the puja.
The Kundu within this temple in Modhera, Gujarat is 176 feet long and 120 feet wide. At first glance, the cistern looks like an inverted pyramid. Each stair step around the cistern has geometric shapes. Kund seen in many temples in India but no other temple has it. A unique example of geometric and mathematical excellence. Numerous stone steps around the tank. So that fans can get down easily. Each staircase has 108 steps. The number 108 also has significance. The number 108 considered sacred in Hinduism. For example, 108 japer mala, 108 Jabar(hibiscus) mala, 108 munda(skull) mala etc. This large tank is rectangular in shape. All are filled with holy water here. In that water that devotees bathe the sun god before worship.
The water of this tank protecting the temple. Lord Vishnu enshrined in the temple. Besides, there is Lord Nataraja (Shiva). The architecture of this Sun Temple in Modhera based on the virtues of astrology, numerology, and geometry practiced in India at that time. It said that when the sun reaches the equinox, the first rays of the sun fall on a sun image installed in this temple.
In this beautiful Surya Temple of Modhera, there are deities from 8 directions-
- East – Indra or Lord of Rains
- North-East – Rudra, a form of Lord Shiva
- South-East – Agni or Lord of Fire
- North – Kubera, the Lord of Wealth
- North-West – Vayu or Lord of Air
- West – Varun or Lord of Water
- South-West – Nairiti – a form of Lord Shiva
- South – Yama, God of death
Surya Temple of Modhera located on the bank of the Pushpavarti river, 102 km from Ahmedabad city. The temple built in 1026 during the Solanki reign. Currently, the temple not used for worship but under the Directorate of Archeology of India. The various designs, crafts, and architecture of the entire temple contain various mathematical, geometric, and astronomical figures of significance.
According to the Brahma Purana, after the conquest of Lanka, Sri Ramachandra approached Rishi Vasishta to purify himself for the sin of killing a Brahmin (Ravana was a Brahmin). Then sage Vasishta asked him to go on a pilgrimage and practice yoga. This sanctuary believed to be the present-day Modhera . Sri Ram also established a village here called Sitapur.
There are three main parts of this Surya Temple of Modhera: Surya Kund, Sabha Mandapa and Gura Mandapa.
The sabha mandapa built for the gathering of devotees. Open in all directions. This mandapa supported by arches carved with 52 very intricate and incomprehensible craft designs. Here 52 arches used to represent the 52 weeks of the year. The arches depict various designs as well as stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Sri Krishna Leela. Between the sabha mandap and the temple a beautiful hall built with attractive pillars and arches. Its front section destroyed, part of which later rebuilt. Its walls have 12 niches depicting the 12 forms of the sun. Here the meaning of the number 12 is the combination of 12 months of the solar year.
Lotus blooms at sunrise and closes at sunset. That is why the lotus is called a solar flower. The temple entirely built on an inverted floral pilaster. It is represented in such a way that when the sun rises and sets every June 21, the rays of light will fall on the Sun God traveling in a chariot. June 21 the day when the Surya Mandir in Modhera the farthest point from the sun’s solstice or the equator. June 21 the summer solstice and equinox, the time of year when day and night are equal in length. This happens on two days of the year. During these days the sun positioned along the equator. The two days are – Solstice / Autumnal Equinox – September 23, Great Equinox / Spring Equinox – March 20.
Aruna the charioteer of the chariot and the entire sculpture richly bejeweled. The chariot of Surya composed of 7 horses (representing the seven days of the week) and the charioteer Aruna seated on the fourth horse. The entire sculpture made of pure gold. The golden sculpture placed over a well or pit which was 15 feet deep. The entire cavity filled with gold coins offered by the Solanki kings to their hereditary deity. These were looted by Mahmud Ghazni and the statue along with the entire gold coin was taken away.
The outer wall of the temple depicts the Sun in 12 different poses accompanied by 8 Dikpalas. And there is Vishwakarma who built the golden city of Dwarka for Lord Krishna, Ganesha the achiever, and Saraswati the goddess of learning and wisdom. There is also a sea churning scene.
The structure of the temple contains various information about the solar system. which is full of mystery. This mystery has not yet been solved. Researchers are constantly engaged in uncovering that mystery. Maybe in the near future, the mystery will be solved and many things will be presented clearly in front of us. Hopefully, there aren’t too many of those days left.
Best time to visit the Surya Temple of Modhera: October to March
Surya Temple of Modhera Timing: 7 am to 6 pm
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