Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, December 5, 2022













Modhera is a village in Gujarat Situated on the banks of Pushpavati River,   is well-known for its Sun temple. It is built on 23.6° latitude (approximately near Tropic of Cancer). The temple was attacked and damaged by Mahmud Ghazni. The place was later known as Sita ni Chauri and Ramkund locally. No worship is offered here now. The temple is Monument of National Importance and is maintained by Archeological Survey of India.





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 equinoxes.





Modhera or Modherapura also known as Mundera is said to have been the original settlement of modha Brahmans.  Having its legendary past relating to the Ramayana it is further believed that modha Brahmans received Modhera as a krsnarpana on the occasion of the marriage of Rama and Sita.  According to the Skanda Purana (3.2.40-67) after defeating Ravana, Lord Rama consulted Muni Vasishta to show him a place of pilgrimage where he could go and purify himself of the sin of Brahma hatya (the slaying of a Brahman).  The Muni showed him dharmaranya.





In  dharmaranya.  Lord Rama settled at a village called Modherah and performed a yajna there.  Thereafter he established a village and named it Sitapura.  It is believed that the village Modherah mentioned above later came to be known as Modhera.  The Sitapura village is about 8 km from Becharagi.  Once a flourishing town and seaport, Modhera stands 24 km south of Anahitapataka (Patan) on the left bank of Pushpavati River.  And the famous sun temple was constructed to the west of this river probably in 1026-27 A.D. during the reign of Chalukya King Bhima I (1022-1063 A.D.)












The Sun Temple at Modhera has been divided into three main compartments. The first is the Surya Kund, a fascinating massive rectangular stepped tank. 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.















Several small steps from the Kund lead up to the enchanting Sabha Mandap commonly described as "a magnificent style of pillared splendour". This is the place that was meant for religious gatherings and conferences.  Guda Mandap is the sanctum sanctorum that is supported by a lotus-base plinth. Once, this hall used to house the idol of the Sun God. The designing of the hall was done in a way, so that the idol gets the first glimpse of the Sun at equinoxes.












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.