Surya Temple Modhera

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1. Reflection of Dancing Hall/Ranga Mandapa and miniature shrines in the Surya Kund. Sun Temple is located on left bank of river Pushpavati in Gujarat`s Mehsana district & is about 2 hours drive from Amdavad. It was constructed during reign of Solanki King Bhimdev I (1022-1063 AD). The place where this temple is made is mentioned in the Skanda Purana as Bhaskara kshetra.

2. Vertical view-reflection of dancing hall in water tank. I drove in from Patan, took about 45 minutes. Reached at 7 am. Fortunately gate-keeper Shakti Singh was there. Album has pics taken from 7 to 9 am. Album starts with reflection of monument in water, then external wall of dance hall, next Surya Kund, then internal dance hall, next external Surya Mandir and lastly internal of temple.

3. Reflection of miniature shrines in the water of Surya Kunda - water tank. There are scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana on pillars. Did trip in January 2018.

4. Reflection of rectangular tank and miniature shrines. The literal meaning of Modhera is "Mound of the dead". Modhera is sometimes called Mundera, the original settlement of Modha Brahmans. The Jain Acharya Hemchandra was of the Modha parentage.

5. Front view of Surya Kund. Dimensions east west 120 feet, north-south 175 feet. By about 7.30 temple was full of school children. To click best pictures visit before sunrise and then about an hour before sunset. Small temple in centre of pic is of Nataraj. Opp Nataraja (what u cannot see) is Sitladevi Mandir. Right of pic what u cannot see is a sleeping Vishnu.

6. Reflection of dancing hall/Ranga mandapa. 2 pillars that u first see are free standing torana or ceremonial gate. I fell so much in love with scene of reflection that I missed taking some pics.

7. Reflection of the Nataraj mandir in the kund. Notice the number of small shrines. Every shrine has a image of a Hindu god.

8. Left is Sitladevi temple, center is Ganesh temple. Corner view of water tank.

9. Sunrise. Every sun temple is wow. Sun temple Konarak Orissa is a masterpiece. Surya Martand Mandir Anantnag, even though in ruins gives you a sense of its grandeur. Sun Temple Almora has no sculptures like the first two. And this one too is amazing.

10. Took pic at 7 ie before sunrise. Temple has 3 parts. In rear of pic is main temple complex including sanctum with ambulatory, lateral transepts and porch. In front is dancing hall. In front is the large rectangular water tank. This temple is remarkable not only for its fine proportions & aesthetic appeal but also for harmonious integration of its plastic embellishment with architectural scheme.

11. Temple is on a high platform. Early morning sun`s rays on dance hall. It has a total of 52 pillars. This hall is described as a magnificent pile of pillared splendour carrying torana arches & can be entered from 4 directions. Centre of pic in front of hall is a large torana which can be approached through a flight of steps.

12. Earlier pic was of dance hall. This is from dance hall. On either side are torans, centre is Surya Kund. Centre of pic is sculpture of sleeping Vishnu i.e. next pic. "Temple designed to allow the first rays of the sun to fall on the image of Surya, the Sun God, at the time of equinoxes. Though partially ruined, the temple retains much of its earlier glory".

13. Close up of Sheshashayi Vishnu. Head on right with snake-hood on top. Seen this image in so many places. Ones I instantly recall are Shore Temple Mahabalipuram, Rani-ki Vav Patan, restaurant in Thailand, Srirangam Temple Trichy. For a good guide call Girishbhai 91 76985 16388.

14. Side view of torana at entrance to dance hall. Captions are courtesy guide and importantly from booklets published by The Archaeological Survey of India. Book by Kirit Mansodi very good and useful.

15. Front view of torana. Low row elephants. Next row looks like warriors. Above them is carving of a lady in centre who has ladies on both sides with what looks like a rope. Help with details.

16. Carvings on torana. Lady in centre is a goddess. Intricate work on the torana, survived over 800 years.

17. Post sun rise of ranga mandapa (first) and sun temple behind. Toran at entrance existed on 4 sides now only 2 there. U can see shikhar of both does not exist. Belur Temple Karnataka has no shikhar like Dilwara Temples Mount Abu. In both cases no shikhar ensured temple not visible to foreign invaders ie they are preserved.

18. External panel of Ranga mandapa. Most of it has got damaged with time.

19. Front side view of dancing hall. This pic best taken before sunset when the setting sun`s rays fall on this side. The temple is made of yellow sandstone. "It has 2 parts - the dancing hall and a shrine (garbhagraha) behind. The hall and shrine are square but when placed together on one axis they create a rectangular plan."

20. Close up of pillar at entrance of side that u saw in previous pic.

21.Close up of torana. Note the ceiling and side walls have sculptures too. Minute work.

22. Ceiling of the Ranga mandapa. "It is supported by a central octagon of very tall, slender pillars and other half pillars resting on the rim of the wall."

23. Just behind the dancing hall external panel were the first layer of pillars. This is a second layer of pillars which support the central octagon. Pillars joined by toranas. Pic best taken against setting sun or maybe should have taken it before sunrise.

24. External panel of dancing hall. Help with caption.

25. West side external panel of dancing hall. Most sculptures damaged.

26. External panel of dancing hall is Goddess BHARVI (Devi).

27. Love scenes, one represents group sex. Sun Temple Konarak too has similar scenes. Note that India`s current attitude to sex is based on Victorian concepts.

28. Before we enter the Surya Kund section this pic shows the dancing hall, Surya kund and miniature shrines. Pic taken post sunrise. "The entire descent of the kunda or tank is divided into 4 main terraces with tiered steps in the form of truncated pyramids at regular intervals. Miniature niches are attached to the terrace walls." These niches have various Hindu Gods.

29. Angle view of Surya Kund. In front is Ganesh Temple. Left centre is Nataraj pic. Opposite right is Sitladevi temple. Bang behind Ganesh temple is one with sleeping Vishnu that you saw earlier. Miniature temples all around tank. A lovely site. Swami Narayan Mandir in Delhi too has similar miniature temples.

30. Front view with Nataraj mandir in centre. Just loved these reflection pics. Get a better idea of the architecture. Missed seeing the image of Chandra, the moon god.

31. Close up Sitladevi Mandir. On either side note the 2 sided sculptures. Our ancestors were so creative - how can we emulate them.

32. Close up of Nataraj temple. Every January a dance festival is held to honour the Sun God. Then the temple is illuminated at night. Since there are 12 Adityas on the walls of the temple, it was always believed to be a Surya mandir. "In ancient Indian art, the Sun god was sometimes combined with Siva and both were represented together in one image. Thus, it has recently been pointed out that since at Modhera, the 12 forms of Siva`s consort (12 Gauris) are given equal importance as the 12 Adityas."

33.Close up of Nataraj inside temple. Note sculptures on temple entrance. "The central block on the doorway depicts Shiva and there is a image of Tripada Bhairava. It is thus possible that the Modhera temple is dedicated to both Surya and Siva".

34. Shikhar at lower level followed by temple at top. Missed taking a vertical pic of temples at 4 levels.

35. 3 miniature shrines. Inside niche on extreme right shows the skull of man being held on one foot. Images inside smaller niches damaged so not clear.

36. Unidentified Devi or goddess.

37. Image is of a Goddess, Devi Indrani.

38. Close up of side temple, i.e. at level one.

39. Now part 3 of album. Closes ups of carvings on pillars of dancing hall. This is the VARAHA avatar of Lord Vishnu.

40. Centre is RAM SETHU. Ram Sethu is the bridge that was made from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka so that Sri Ram could go to Sri Lanka. Pillars depict a variety of things, awesome do see. It is a scene from the Ramayana.

41. Left is Group Sex. In India views on sex are the Victorian view.

42. Story of Ramayana. Person top of pic is Hanuman and he is carrying Sanjeevani mountain which contains a cure for Sri Ram`s brother Lakshman.

43. This one is hilarious. Centre of pic lower part see mother giving birth to child. When usual ways of delivery failed this was how the lady delivered.

44. Story from Ramayana. Ravana assumes form of Sadhu (right of pic) so can deceive & abduct Sita. When Ravana was taking Sita to Lanka in his flying chariot (Pushpak), Jatayu, the wise old bird was resting in the forest. Hearing Sita screams Jatayu flew to Pushpak and attacked Ravana with his sharp claws. Ravana killed Jatayu with his arrows. Top part of pic reflects this scene.

45. Scene from Ramayana. Top part means it is Ashok Garden. U see birds on its branches and Hanuman as well. In garden is Sita.

46. Scene from Mahabharata shows butter milk being churned and makhan chor Krishna.

47. Scene from Mahabharata. Left shows Kaurava brother sitting on tree and Bhima shaking the tree because of which Kauravas fall down. "Once when the 5 Pandavas and Karnas assembled for an archery instruction session with Guru Drona, he tied a wooden fish high on a tree above a pool of water, and asked each student, one by one, to take the archer’s stance. He instructed them to aim their bow and arrow at the fish’s eye, while looking only at its reflection in the water below. As  When Arjuna, the ace-archer, was asked the same question i.e. what do you see, he stated without hesitation, “I see the eye of the fish.” And Guru Drona exclaimed with delight, “Shoot!” and Arjuna’s arrow unwaveringly pierced right through the eye of the fish."

48. Scene from Mahabharata. Shows Krishna lifting Govardhan parvat (mountain).

49. Scene from Ramayana. Lakshman unwell so Sri Ram holding his brother.

50. Scene from Mahabharata shows Bhima lifting the elephant Ashwathama.

51. Left is scene from Mahabharata. When Bhima and Duryodhana were fighting with their Gadas - maces, nothing effected Duryodhan till he was told that the only way to kill Duryodhan was by hitting on the thigh.

52. 1 head 5 bodies represent the 5 Elements of Nature or Pancha Mahabhuta i.e. prithvi (earth), akash (space), agni (fire), jal (water) and vayu (air).

52a. Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu. U see him saving Prahlad.

53. This pic is to give u a sense of the pillars and sculptures on them. U see dancing and social activity.

54. We now come to part 4 i.e. the Surya Mandir. First take external part and then internal. Note it has no Shikhar, got damaged with time.

55. External left side panel. Centre of pic is image of Lord Indra (east), a Dikhpala who are regents of the directions of space. 1st group presents the 12 Adityas. 2nd group are 12 goddesses (Gauris). 3rd group consists of 10 figures 8 of whom are Dikpalas and the remaining two are related deities". Right of Indra seems like a Gauri.

56.Panel on left side of entrance to sanctum. In sitting position is Sun God. "Doorframe divided into 3 parts. Central face contains images of Sun god, blended with Brahma, Vishnu & Siva. Prominent central block on the lintel depicts Brahma, Vishnu, Siva with Adityas interspersed between them."

57. Another panel as we walked around temple. 4 sculptures centre of pic. Left and right are goddesses. Right man is Lord Indra. Left not sure.

58. U see Parvati. Panel have 12 goddesses or Devis. "They are 4 armed and all stand in graceful postures. They bear pitchers of water & rosaries in their lower pairs of hand but the attributes in their hands are different. There are 12 Gauris, they are aspects of Gauri, Siva`s wife." At Modhera, the forms of 12 goddesses are represented.

59. Right top is small sculpture - person with a breat and without is ARDHANARESHWARA, a combination of Shiva Parvati. Also found in 5 Rathas Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu amongst other temples.

60. Top is Saraswati with musical instrument Veena.

61. Kamasutra - love scenes.

62. Lowest level is Kirti Chakra (to ward away evil), next are Elephants. Interesting part is design of trunk is different. Left to right second elephant looks like face of Ganesha.

63. Right is AGNI, vehicle is sheep. Left is Surya Devata with 7 horses. "Adityas are aspects of the Sun god who along with his 12 manifestations worshipped since the Vedic times. In Modhera Adityas are placed on 12 large panels. They stand frontally & each has 2 arms with lotuses in the upraised hands, they wear a coat of arms, tall boots & a special waist cord known as avayanga. They are flanked by the same 2 attendants who flank the Sun god, i.e. Dandi and Pingalia & they rise a 7 horse chariot like the Sun."

64. Lord Vishnu in sleeping posture. In earlier pic Agni is one of the 8 Dikhpalas or regents of the directions of space. "His hair is matted, he has beard & moustache, flames of fire from his head as Agni the god of sacrificial fire."

65. Vishwakarma is considered the Divine Architect. Also called `Devashilpi` or `The Architect of the Gods`. Sculptures of those times made such different types of sculptures.

66. Dancers.

67. Another external wall. Right of pic is an Aditya.

68. Front view of Aditya.

69. U see Karthikeya, son of Shiva and Parvati.

70. U see Vayu, one of the 8 Dikhpalas. "12 Adityas are placed on the sanctum wall, 12 Gauris on the walls of the hall. Around the entire structure are 8 Dikpalas or regents of the directions of space. Their names are, East: Indra, South-east: Agni, South: Yama, West: Varuna, South-west: Nirrti. North: Kubera, North-west: Vayu & North-east: Isan".

71. Love scenes.

72. U see Durga Mahisasurmardini killing the buffalo demon. Captions are courtesy book by Kirit Mankodi and guide Girishbhai. Please mail me in case of any errors. .

73. External wall. Northwest side. On north-east side missed taking pic of "Tripada Bhairava, a form of Siva with 3 hands, 3 legs and 3 arms."

74. External wall south side. Left is Aditya. "Right is Dikhpala Nirrit. Only 2 natural hands survive. His ornaments are made of bones and snakes, his mount, a naked corpse at his feet."

75. External wall south side. U see 2 images of Adityas identified by 7 horses.

76. Exernal wall south side. Right is a Aditya. Left is a goddess. Centre is Kubera a Dikhpala or regents of the direction of space, "who has a corpulent figure. All his hands have been destroyed but some objects like a lotus, a conch shell & a mace have been preserved."

77. External wall south side. Panel in centre of pic. On right side is Dikhpala Varuna. On left side is Siva as Tripada Bhairava. Varuna has lost all 4 arms but his characteristic attribute - the noose has been preserved.

77a. Toran and pillars at temple entrance.

78. Toran entrance to sanctum. Centre sculpture doorway is a sitting Siva.

79. Right panel sculptures. Intricate work. In sitting position is Surya Devata or Sun God. "Doorframe divided into 3 parts. Central face contains images of Sun god, blended with Brahma, Vishnu & Siva. Prominent central block on the lintel depicts Brahma, Vishnu, Siva with Adityas interspersed between them." .

80. "In temple centre 8 decorated columns make up an octagon. Inner walls of the hall are adorned with figures of the 12 Adityas, who are forms of the Sun God. They represent 12 months of one solar year. "Sculpture is of a girl who has her periods for the first time as indicated by blood on her left thigh.

81. Entrance to sanctum - you see columns on both side. No sculpture inside the sanctum. Around sanctum is a circumbalatory passage. Doorway is elaborately carved with divine and decorative figures - the Adityas or other aspects of the Sun god, Ganesha, Kubera, apsaras etc.

82. Ceiling inside main sanctum.

83. Centre is KICHAK - symbolise the strength they give to the structure. To see pics of Surya Martand Mandir in Jammu and Kashmir Click Here

83a. Mother loves her child who is kissing the mother.

83b. In the dancing hall pillar lower is scene from the Ramayana. Brothers Bali and Sugriva in duel.

84. The rectangular tank shall always be part of my memory. So kept as last pic. To see pics of Sun Temple Konarak in Orissa Click Here