The famous Sun temple is situated in the district of Mehsana in the city of Gujrat. The temple is situated at the bank of the river Pushpavati. The temple is devoted to the Sun God, Surya but now no prayer is granted but the monument is well preserved.
The temple was built many centuries ago, in the 11th Century, when the ruler Bhima I, the ruler of the Chalukya dynasty was ruling the country. It is said that Mahmud Ghazni invaded Bhima’s kingdom, and almost twenty thousand soldiers came in, to check the advancement, and to celebrate the defense the temple was built. On the western side of the temple, a date is encrypted that too upside down in Devanagari style which is 1026-1027 CE. Other than this no other date is found all over the temple. And this date is considered as the date of destruction by Ghazni.
The temple is built in Chalukya style, and it is divided into three parts the main hall named Garbhagriha, then the outer assembly hall which is named the Gudhamandapa or the Rangamandapa, and then comes the temple tank or reservoir named the Kunda. The length of the hall is 51 feet and 9 inches and the breadth is 25 feet and 8 inches. Which is almost equally divided between the two halls, the Garbhagriha, and Gudhamandapa. The walls on the inner sides do not have many carvings, those are mostly plain. But the outer walls are very beautifully decorated with cravings of Surya in different poses and postures and many dancers are around him and also couples sitting around.
The Sun temple is designed in such a way that the first ray of the sun lights the image of Surya during the equinox days and on summer solstice days, the sun shines directly above the temple at the noon, due to which no shadow is cast. Many unique carvings like the Pitha or Adhisthana or the Padma. Both the roofs of the inner hall and outer hall almost collide with each other, and the entrance of the sun temple is almost destroyed. Different figures of Surya holding the Lotus with his two hands driven by seven horses.
The whole temple stands on pillars, both small and large, the large pillars runs from the ground to support the roof, and there are also small pillars starting from the walls and reaches the top. The designs in the roofs are also very minute and beautiful with mostly all the roofs shaped in pyramid-like structures. Even the pillars supporting the roof are very beautifully designed with carvings of different figures all around. Kunda which is the third part of the temple is a rectangular-shaped structure and 176 feet deep and 120 feet wide and it holds water, for different purposes.
The tank or reservoir is paved with stones all around and the structure is almost like a stepwell which has four terraces and to reach them steps are formed so that one can go from one step or terrace to another.
How to reach and Timings–
The best time to visit the sun temple is in the month of January as a festival named “Uttaradha Mahotsav” is organized by the tourism co-operation of Gujrat for 3 days in the third week of January. Here classical dance forms are presented for the tourist to see, and local people are also allowed. The temple is opened every day from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening. Though prayers are not accepted here anymore the place is preserved as a very important and ancient monument by the Archeological Survey of India. The place is well-connected Ahmedabad being the nearest Railway station and Airport. People can take a cab from the Airport or Railway station to reach Modhera. Even the place is connected through bus services with different cities all over the country.