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India4world.com offers complete information on tourism in Modhera, Modhera is one of the main tourism destinations in India.

Modhera

 

FACTS & FIGURES

Languages : Gujarati, Hindi, and English
Best Time to Visit : October to March
STD Codes : 0273484

LOCATION

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.

PAST

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.

SITES TO VISIT

The Sun Temple at Modhera has been divided into three main compartments. The first is the Surya Kund, a fascinating massive rectangular stepped tank. Because of the restoration work that is being carried out here by the Archeological Survey of India, the tank now stands dry; but in the days of yore it was believed to be full of nirmal jal (holy water). Devotees on their way to offer prayers to the Sun God would be required to first stop here for ceremonial ablutions and only then proceed for worship towards the temple.

Small, miniature shrines dot the steps around the Kund. There are 108 of them to coincide with the number considered auspicious by the Hindus.

Besides these, there are four larger shrines dedicated to Vishnu, Ganesha, Shiva and Sitala Mata, the last mentioned being the goddess of the dreaded disease smallpox. And upon letting the imagination wander, one can almost imagine the intense religious activity that once would have been the hallmark of the place-air thick with a soothing incense smell, flowers floating on the water surface, devotees chanting aloud and offering prayers hoping to be blessed by the Lord Surya, all against the backdrop of the benign twin structures.

Several small steps from the Kund lead up to the enchanting Sabha Mandap commonly described as "a magnificent style of pillared splendor". This is the place that was meant for religious gatherings and conferences. Open on all sides with four doorways, the piece de resistance is its unique walnut-shaped ceiling supported by 52 spectacular pillars. Each of these is intricately carved with every inch of available space recounting scenes form Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Krishna Leela (the childhood antics of Lord Krishna). One cannot but be charmed by the artistry and skill of the artisans of the time and, of course, the Solankis to have recognized it and given them due patronage.

Based on a lotus-base plinth, the façade of this structure is also stunning and warrants close attention. Friezes of gods and goddesses cover the walls, besides which one can also see various aspects of human life- the cycle of birth and death and some erotic scenes from the Kama Sutra.

The Guda Mandap contains yet another incredible structure, a surang (tunnel), the other end of which is believed to emerge at Patan, the headquarter of the Solankis. In case of attacks, these tunnels provided the ideal escape routes for the kings and members of the royal family to flee to safety.

SITES NEARBY

Unjha is a little town and a base for those visiting the Modhera temple. The town of Unjha is known for the marriage customs of the Kadwakanbis who live in this region.

Around 10 km from Unjha is Sidhpur where one can find the very fragmented ruins of an ancient temple.

Mahesena is around 34 km away from Modhera and a popular base for the tourists visiting 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.