Modhera is an ancient village in the state of Gujarat, famed for housing the remains of the Sun Temple built by the Chalukya dynasty is a true historical treasure. The village is surrounded by a mystical aura that the Sun Temple brings along, it is also a hub for spirituality and culture. Modhera gives you a glimpse into the glory days of the royal lineage of the Chalukyas and is one of the finest testaments of the architectural excellence of the past. If history entices then this place is perfect for you with the village being neck deep in historical relics, structures and legends.
The area near the village was earlier known by the name of Dharmaranya, village folklore says that Lord Rama came to Dharmarayana to purge himself from Bramha Hatya on the advice of Sage Vashishtha. Lord Rama settled in a village in Dharmarayana called Modherak and performed a Yagna there and later established and named it Sitapur. The village later came to be known by its present day name of Modhera.
Places to see
The Sun Temple is the ruins of an ancient temple devoted to the Sun God Surya, it is set along the coast of the river Pushpavati in the Modhera village. The temple was built under the rule of the Chalukya dynasty by the ruler Bhima I and is the most prominent tourist attraction in Modhera. The temple premises are divided into 3 major components: Gudhamandapa(shrine hall), Sabhamandapa(assembly hall), and Kunda(reservoir), the Kund is lined with 108 miniature shrines on the steps of the Kund. The Kund leads to the Sabhamandapa which was used for holding religious gatherings, most famous for the 52 exquisite pillars on which the roof rests.
The architecture of temple is very intricate and detailed and is reflective of the Maru-Gujara Chalukyan style of architecture and leaves you awestruck. All devotional activities have been ceased at the temple presently, it is a monument of national importance now. The sun temple is an exemplary embodiment of the exquisite craftsmanship of the golden ages and is a must visit for all history fanatics.
Modheshwari Mata Mandir
The Modeshwari Mata temple is devoted to Goddess Modeshwari Mata who is said to be an avatar of Goddess Parvati, she is the Kuldevi of the Modh community. The story behind the temple goes about a demon Karnat who was destroying everything in the region, seeking protection the fearful saints went to Goddess Parvati who on hearing about the injustice was infuriated and started unleashing fire from her mouth which gave birth to her avatar Goddess Modheshwari Mata. The sculpture of the goddess in the temple has 18 arms, each bearing a weapon.
The Toran restaurant out the main temple premises is the only good restaurant in the vicinity, they serve traditional Indian fare as well as small snack titbits. Currently, this is the only dining option in the village, you could find more eateries in Mehsana.
Fairs and Festivals
The temple witnesses a classical dance festival in the month of January around the festival of Makar Sankranti, the dance festival Uttarardha Mahotsav is a three-day affair where performers from all across the country present their regional and classical dance forms like Garba, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Bharatnatyam in the Sun Temple, it is meant to replicate the ambience of the yesteryears when the dance forms originated.
Seldom do you come across a place like Modhera that is so rich history and culture and surrounded by such an eventful past. The small village of Modhera is a perfect gateway into the era of kings and queens and the grandiose lifestyles they lead. If you are ever in Gujarat, Modhera should definitely be on your list of places to visit if you are fascinated by the tales and traditions of times gone by.
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Best Time To Visit Modhera
Modhera can be visited throughout the year, but the summers do get a bit overbearing at times while the winters are more pleasant, so October to March may be a more favourable time to visit.
The Uttarardha Mahotsav is a classical arts festival held at the Sun Temple during the fourth week of January, so if thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something that interests you, you should visit Modhera during the festivities.