A structure that beats engineering minds,
A temple so rich, it was plundered to its last bits
A community so compassionate they rebuilt it for free
The Modhera Sun Temple is testimony to all this and more.
This is a story of genius architecture and pillaging.
On a rainy Monday afternoon, we lazed into the gates of a spell binding temple. Cries of peacocks welcomed us.
The lotus shaped structure of the temple encased on one side by a symmetrical Stepwell made us first stop at a distance to take in the views. Surrounded by manicured laws, with a Sabhamandapa (stage to hold performances) the whole temple made of these three parts is truly an architectural wonder.
The Stepwell is geometrically aligned, its water a melancholic green and it has a 108 mini temples said to have adorned it along the stairs at one time. These shrines may be fewer in number now but that hasn’t dampened its beauty.
The uniqueness of this temple are many and more. There are alternate short and tall pillars, holding the roof. The roof itself, once the crowning glory of the monument is now a mere half of its original glory. Destroyed in parts, yet maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India in as pristine a condition as possible. The temple tells a story of invasion and survival in all its magnificence.
The Ghazni’s and Khilji’s of the world may have plundered the gold, diamonds and riches but they could not take away the glory of the monument. The local guide tells us that the villagers in that era worked for free and relentlessly to restore the glory of temple. It was eventually rebuilt by the Solanki dynasty, the original creators, and more in recent years refurbished by the government for the public to able to visit it.
To see for yourself, what I am talking about, visit the temple during the days of equinoxes each year i.e. 21 March and 21 September. The rays of the sun fall on the exact spot where the idol of the Sun God once stood. At the time, the golden statue with a shining chariot shone brighter than any star. On each summer solstice day, the sun shines directly above the temple at noon casting no shadow. The temple is also said to be built on the Tropic of Cancer. If these are not proof of genius engineering then I don’t know what is!
Leaving you with a picture of this magical history.
Will you be visiting soon? Tell us what you liked about it.