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Sun Temple at Modhera in Mehsana District are the ruins of the 11th Century temple, situated on the banks of Pushpavati river. Constructed in 1026-27 A.D. during the reign of King Bhimdev I of Patan, the temple is dedicated to Surya or the Sun God. It is a magnificent specimen of superb artistry of Gujarat’s architects of the bygone days. Modhera’s sun temple is positioned in such a manner that at the equinoxes the rising sun strikes the images in the sanctuary.The outer walls of the temple are covered with sculptures in which the figures of Surya, the sun god are prominent. The Sun Temple also incorporates an amusement park, a museum, a cafeteria, picture gallery and library.
The canvas on the walls and pillars depict the incidents from the Ramayan and the Mahabharat, and forms of gods and goddesses and the way of life of the people of that time. An interesting iconograph is one with three heads, three arms and three legs. Later, the temple was ruined by Mahmud of Gazni.
Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge ‘Sun Kund’ (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.
Modhera dance festival organized by the Gujarat Government ‘Cultural Department’, is the major festival that is observed at the Sun Temple. This dance festival is organized by Gujarat Tourism to promote tourism and keep the Indian traditions and culture alive. It is held in the third week of January every year. The classical dance forms in the premises of this temple revive the imperial ambiance during the period.
The main highlight of the Modhera dance festival is the typical Garba performance that depicts the glorious culture of Gujarat. People attired in colorful costumes perform the garba dance. The whole atmosphere is so mesmerizing that it leaves the audience totally spellbound. Lights, colors, high energy levels, glimpses of culture, entertainment is what best describes this festive occasion. The tourists thoroughly enjoy this dance festival, as they get a chance to see the dance forms of ancient as well as contemporary India simultaneously. Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak are the many other Classical dance forms performed at Sun Temple.
The Sun Temple has its historical importance and is preserved as there is also great interest shown by historians and archaeologists in the ancient edifice, constructed 900 years ago.