Let me start this post with a very familiar Vedic hymn…
om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodayāt
– Rigveda 3.62.10
This is known as the Gayatri mantra. It is found in ancient Vedic text and later has its presence in so called Hindu and in some Buddhist texts as well.
But the question is…why am I telling you about this? Have I hit my head real hard? 😀
No! 😀 It is because this so called Hindu mantra is in fact, an praise of Surya…the sun God.
This ancient Vedic deity, source of eternal energy , inspiration and wisdom according to the old texts however has very few temples dedicated specifically to it. I remember reading somewhere that this is due to the prevalence of the two main sects Shaiva and Vaishnava at a later time, though please excuse my lack of knowledge in this regard.
I have visited the sun temple of Konark a few times since I am a Bong and Puri and Konark happen to be our second homes anyways. And I always find the Konark sun temple more attractive than the Jagannath temple at Puri, which has its own charm by the way. But Konark…now that is another thing.
I stumbled upon another sun temple during my recent visit to Gujarat. Modhera sun temple, situated near Ahmadabad is a feast for the eyes. The premises is a proposed UNESCO Heritage site. And you understand why when you enter.
The temple is impressive with some intricate curving in stone.
The doors are beautifully ornamented.
Even the pillars match the grandeur of the overall temple.
Another beauty is the ceiling of the temple, that are beautifully decorated and very difficult to get a proper picture of though. 😀
The reason the temple looks grander is the step well…yes, there is a step well beside the temple that has beautiful reflection of the temple in its surface.
A view of the temple from the stepwell during the day does provide you with an idea of how great the structure is. A definite recommendation to include this place in itinerary when you are in Gujarat.
Take care and see you! 🙂