The Surya Mandir (Sun Temple) is just outside the village of Modhera. Although weather and earthquakes have taken a toll, it is still sumptuous site. The temple is aligned precisely east-west, so that the sun enters the inner sanctum at sunrise on the equinoxes. The deity (now long gone) supposedly had a diamond in his forehead that illuminated the entire inside of the temple when the sun hit it.
|A large kund (tank) sits in front of the mandapa (meeting hall), which is front of the temple.|
|When we arrived at the site, a number of men and women were performing ritual ablutions in the tank.|
|The tank contains 108 small shrines.|
|The tank and the mandapa (and guess who?).|
|The mandate. Note the scalloped arch in the rear entryway that became so prominent much later in Mughal architecture. The temple dates to 1026; the Mughals arrived around 1300.|
|The mandapa has 52 columns -- one for each week in the year.|
|This temple is over 1000 years old, and the effects of weather on the sandstone is apparent.|
|The dome in the center of the ceiling in the mandapa has been restored.|
|The interior of the temple was filled with bats; the stench of their urine was overwhelming. Fortunately, most of what is worth seeing is on the exterior!|
|The exterior is richly decorated, down to the lotus-flower base.|
|A closer look at sculpture along the base of the temple.|
|One of twelve sculptures of Surya -- one for each month of the year.|
Surya rides on seven horses -- one for each day of the week.
|Nandi is not a common sight in Gujarat. While the temple is no longer active, there is a small Shiva shrine next to it.|