In 1026 King Bhimdev I of the Solanki Dynasty commissioned the building of a grand monument dedicated to the Hindu deity Surya, God of the Sun. Built on the banks of the Pushpavati River in Modhera, the Sun Temple was built with three axially-aligned elements, a step well, an assembly hall and a sanctum where an idol of the Sun God was once housed.
The Sabha Mandap, or assembly hall, once held religious gatherings and ceremonies and is characterized by its 52 intricately carved pillars, depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. This gathering hall leads into the inner sanctum, designed so that the sun would shine on the idol of the Sun God at dawn on the equinox. Twelve niches within the sanctum depict the 12 different facets of Surya — one for each month of the year.
Surya Kund, the stepped tank in front of the temple, was once used to store water. Today, the rectangular stepped well is known for the more than 100 carved shrines lining its walls.
The most convenient way to visit the Modhera Sun Temple is by hiring a taxi from Ahmedabad, which can include a visit to Patan as well. It’s more expensive than the bus but much easier.