The Modhera Sun Temple was made by King Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 11th century. Sun Temple Modhera’s Gujarat. Temple and its dedication to the Sun God will leave you stunned. The temple was so constructed that during every equinox, the first sun rays would fall on a diamond placed on the Sun God’s head and the entire temple would illuminate in a golden glow.
On other days, two pillars before the garbhagriha would stay illuminated throughout the day, regardless of the position of the sun. All of these can only be left to the imagination now.
History Of The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat. India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima of the Chalukyas dynasty.
The Temple Complex Has Three Components
The temple complex is built in (Chaulukya style). The temple complex has three axially aligned components; the shrine proper (garbhagriha) in a hall (gudhamandapa), the outer or assembly hall (sabhamandapa or rangamandapa), and a sacred reservoir (Kunda).
The Sabhamandapa is not in continuation with Gudhamandapa but is placed little away as a separate structure. Both are built on a paved platform. Their roofs have collapsed long ago leaving behind a few lower-most courses. Both roofs are 15′ 9″ in diameter but are constructed differently. The platform or plinth is inverted lotus-shaped.
1.)Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall:-
The Gudhamandapa measures 51 feet 9 inches by 25 feet 8 inches. It is almost equally divided into Gudhamandapa, the hall, and Garbhgriha, the shrine proper. Both are rectangular in plan with one projection on each of the smaller sides and two projections on each of the longer sides. These projections on the smaller sides form the entrance and the back of the shrine.
2.)Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall:-
Sabhamandapa or Rangamandapa, the assembly hall or dancing hall is parallelogram in plan with rows of pillars opening entrance on each side diagonally. The extensively carved exterior has a series of recessed corners giving an impression of the star-like plan of it.[There are 52 intricately carved pillars. Madhusudan Dhaky has suggested that the sabhamandapa may have been later addition based on style and construction.
3.)Kunda, the reservoir:-
Kunda, a tank or reservoir is known as Ramakunda or Suryakunda. The flight of steps through kirti-torana leads to the reservoir. It is rectangular. It measures 176 feet from north to south and 120 feet from east to west. It is paved with stones all around. There are four terraces and recessed steps to descend to reach the bottom of the tank. The main entrance lies in the west. There are steps to reach from one terrace to another on the right angle to the terrace. These steps are rectangular or square except for the first step of each flight of steps which is semicircular. Several miniature shrines and niches in front of the terrace-wall have images of gods including many Vaishnavite deities and goddesses such as Shitala.
However, the sabha mandap still stands on 52 pillars, depicting the 52 weeks in year carvings of the sun, along with its unity with the other 4 elements-air, water, earth, and space- can be spotted on the walls. The halls have intricately carved exterior and pillars. The reservoir has steps to reach the bottom and numerous small shrines.
What Is The Specialty Of Sun Temple of Modhera?
The Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukyas dynasty.
No worship is offered now and is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey Of India. At present, the temple is undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India for renovation and restoration. In 2014, this Modhera Sun Temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There are only 2 sun temples built in India. One is in Konark, Odisha, and others in Modhera, Gujarat.
Who Destroyed Sun Temple Jammu & Kashmir?
Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya. Now in ruins, the temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple was destroyed on the orders of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan, as part of his efforts to forcibly convert Kashmiri people to Islam.
The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat organizes an annual three-day dance festival known as ‘Uttarardha Mahotsav’ at the temple during the third week of January, following the festival of Uttarayan. The objective is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere similar to that in which they were originally presented.
How To Reach Modhera Gujarat?
By Air: You can fly to the nearest city to Modhera-Ahmedabad-from where regular government bus services are available.
By Train: For the ones boarding a train instead, the nearest railway station is at Mehsana-25 km from Modhera.
By Road: Modhera Sun Temple can be easily reached by boarding a bus or hiring a taxi from anywhere in Gujarat. The Modhera Sun Temple indeed leaves you awestruck. It is one place, amidst all the ruins, where you’ll find a perfect blend of ageless creativity and tremendous hard work.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Valmiki National Park is among the most prominent tiger reserves in India. Located near the Indo-Nepal border in West Champaran district of Bihar, the tiger reserve is spread over an area of about 880 sq km.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve comprises of the Valmiki National Park and the Valmiki Wild Sanctuary. It is the 18th tiger reserve in the country and with 10 tigers ranks fourth in terms of tiger population.
In 1978, the reserve had an area of 464 sq km. In 1989, the national park and wildlife sanctuary was added to the area of the reserve and in 1990 the total area of the reserve was increased to the existing 880 sq km area.
Best months to see the Valmiki wilderness:
October to March is the best time to visit the sanctuary. The winter months (December to mid-February) are colder and the minimum temperature goes down to 7 – 8 degrees Celsius. Heavy warm clothing is desired in winter.
The mixed moist deciduous vegetation along the alluvial plains of the Gandak River is dominated by sal (Shorea robusta), Rohini (Mallotus phillipensis) and sihor (Strebulus asper). Terminalia tomentosa, Terminalia belerica, Adina cordifolia, Dalbergia latifolia, Mitragyna parviflora, Ehretia laevis, Angeissus latifolia are some of the important associates of Sal forests. The natural forests are interspersed with plantations of teak (Tectona grandis), bamboo, semal (Salmalia malabarica), shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and khair (Acacia catechu).
Diverse habitats of the Sanctuary support a variety of faunal life forms. Tigers, Leopards and Indian Wild Dogs are the large predators. Leopard cat and fishing cat are also found in patches. Deer species are represented by spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and hog deer. Indian bison (Gaur), Nilgai and wild boar are other ungulates found in these forests. Rhesus macaque and common Langur are primates of the sanctuary. Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has recorded fifty three mammal species in the sanctuary.
Python, crocodile, king cobra, krait, monitor lizard, hill turtle are some common reptiles. The ZSI has recorded 10 species of amphibians, 27 species of reptiles and 75 species of insects.
Valmiki Vihar, a tourist lodge of State Tourism Development Corporation Hotel is located at the picturesque site at Valmiki Nagar.
There are ten (10) eco-huts of double bed occupancy located at Valmikinagar (two), Naurangia Done (two), Manguraha (2) and Gobardhana (four). Besides, one tree-hut is located at kotraha for altitude lovers.
Forest Rest Houses (two double-bed rooms in each) are located at Kotraha, Madanpur, Naurangia Done, Gobardhana, Manguraha, and Manpur. Four double-bed rooms at Ganauli is a wooden forest rest house. This building has the potential to get heritage status.
Tickets and Surcharges
Booking for accommodation can be done only 60 days in advance and only for 4 days at a stretch.
Eco hut- Gobardhana: INR 1500 (Maximum two persons allowed in a room) Eco hut- Kotraha: INR 1500 (Maximum two persons allowed in a room) Eco hut- Naurangia : INR 1500 (Maximum two persons allowed in a room) Eco hut- Manguraha: INR 1500 (Maximum two persons allowed in a room) Treehut- Gobardhana : INR 1500 (Maximum two persons allowed in a room)
Safari Details and Charges
Gypsy/ Jeep Safari (4 persons) for 2 hours 30 minutes – INR 600 per group Rafting (8 persons) for 3 hours – INR 2000 per group Boating (4 persons) for 3 hours – INR 500 per group Nature Walk (4 – 6 persons) for 3 – 4 hours – INR 100 per person Border Trek (10 – 15 persons) for 10 – 12 hours – INR 500 per person Jungle Camp (4 – 6 persons) for a night – INR 200 per person Tiger Trail (4 – 6 persons) for 3 – 4 hours – INR 200 per person Cycling – INR 20 per hour
Places of Interest at Valmiki National Park
The place is dotted with temples, shrines and historical monuments. Some of the prominent and must-visit attractions of Valmiki National Park include- 1. Bheriyari Watch Tower This one is located in the Bheriyari Grassland region and is ideal for bird watching several exotic bird species at play and viewing the herbivores in the natural habitat.
2. Bhikhna Thori Located exactly on the Indo- Nepal Border, this is the north- eastern end of the sanctuary. This is a popular route to Tibet across Nepal. History tells us that it was the common resting place called ?thaur? in the native language, for the Buddhist monks and hence it is called “Bhiktchuk thaur” or “Bhikhna thori”. King George Vth rested here on his way to Nepal and it has been a popular picnic and leisure spot ever since.
3. Rohua Nala
Rohua Nala is a tributary of River Gandak and is situated in the Mandalpur range. The region is a beautiful combination of wetlands, forests, swamps and cenebrakes. The region has been declared as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Indian Bird Conservation Network. Besides several beautiful sightings of exotic birds, the place also facilities boating activities in traditional Shikara boats. You can also spot rhinoceros in the region.
Kapan is a major perennial river originating from the Raghia Range. Walking northwards along the river, you can witness one of the most beautiful trails of the Park with forest on the side and the trailing river in the centre. You can also spot kingfishers, green pigeons and Indian bisons here.
Lalbhitiya is a most beautiful vantage point in the area providing an alluring bird’s eye view of pure- sal forests. The highlight of the place are the mesmerising sunrise and sunset views. On clear days, you can also see the snow white pearly peaks of the Himalayas from here. The place is a common favourite among solace seekers, nature wanderers and bird watchers.
6. Manor Trek
Manor Trek is a comparatively easy trek of 1.5 kms which the tourists can undertake on their own. The trail passes along the forest to the Manor watchtower which provides majestic views of the adjoining snow clad Himalayas and beautiful panoramas of the river manor below.
7. Parewa Dah
Parewa Dah is considered the most beautiful spot of the Valmiki Natural Forest and a trip to the park is considered incomplete without a visit to this place. Parewa means ?pigeons? and ?dah? means water- bodies and put together, Parewa Dah means a place where both these factors co-exist. The area is replete with water doves,pigeons and bee-eaters swarming the emerald blue waters. The water is so clear that you can even see the fish swimming at shallow levels.
8. Someshwar Peak
Perched at an elevation of 2884 meters, Someshwar Peak is the highest peak in the region which can be reached through a trek of 14 km from the base camp. Although the tiring trekking pays off at the top which offers sweeping views of the forest below in the backdrop of the mighty mountains of the Himalayan Range. The path has several stop points like the Titanic Point and Hill Top etc. On the border is located Someshwar Temple dedicated to Shiva and Kali. At the base of the temple are the ruins of the hermitage of Baba Bhatrihari.
9. Valmiki Nagar
Valmiki Nagar is the adjoining tiny town of Valmiki Nagar on the banks of river Gandak at the Indo – Nepal border. The Gandak Barrage has a viewpoint that offers magnificent views of the Triveni and other nearby areas. The area also offers rare sightings of gharials, dolphins, crocodiles, turtles, and other rare and endangered birds, etc. Besides the serene landscape and tranquility, you can also experience river rafting in the area.
Activities at Valmiki National Park
1. Nature Walk
The rich wildlife and the diverse topography makes for wonderful nature walks through the forests. The volunteers are taken on a guided walking tour spanning 4 – 5 km to give them an idea of the flourishing ecosystem of the forests. These groups of 5 – 6 people are guided by professionals and children below the age of 15 years are not allowed. It is a must-experience activity when at the sanctuary to witness the plenteous flora and fauna, and to be awed at the grand and cozy forests brimming with wondrous bounteous nature.
2. Border Trek
Located at the brink of the India- Nepal border with the Someshwar Range as the border between the two countries, the wildlife sanctuary provides facilitates beautiful treks in the region. From the top of the hill peaks, one can take a mesmerizing bird’s eye view of the tiger reserve and the national park, in addition to the parallely located Chitwan National Park in Nepal. The trek is a day-long activity, conducted from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Besides testing your fitness agility and grit, the trek takes you through a wonderland of steep slopes, settling riverine, meandering streams, and along with narrow passes in the forests. The package includes packed meals en-route. This trek is conducted in groups of 10 – 15 people led by a professional guide. Children below the age of 15 years are not allowed.
3. Jungle Camp
This is one of the most thrilling activities at the camp which is conducted in the anti-poaching camps or in one of the watchtowers. The package includes beds, spotlights, and night vision devices. Special care is taken not to disturb the natural habitat of the plants and animals. Midnight creeks and howls of the wild animals are sure to get up your adrenaline rush. In a group, 2 – 4 people can be accommodated and children below 15 years are not allowed.
4. Tiger Trail One of the most exciting highlights of Valmiki National Park is the Tiger trail activity. The trek starts early at dawn in the supervision of the tiger trekkers where you follow the trails walked by the king of the forest- Bengal tigers. In case it is your lucky day, you might get to see a kill or the spoils of the tigers. The trek is also very informative where the participants are taught how to identify various pugmarks, scratches, and scents. The group consists of 4 – 6 participants and children below 15 years are not allowed.
5. Watchtowers There are several wooden watchtowers housed in the forests from where the tourists can take a peek into the privacy of the wildlife. Besides the towers offer enchanting views of the rivers, the confluence, and the majestic Himalayan ranges. These watchtowers are also installed at Thori, Bajani, Singha Sonbarsa, Bherihari, and Bhaluthapa.
How to Reach
The sanctuary is situated on Gorakhpur–Muzaffarpur (via Narkatiganj) rail route. Direct trains are available from major cities of the country to reach the sanctuary. Daily/weekly trains are available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Siliguri, Dehradun, and Amritsar to arrive at Bagaha (to reach the western part of the sanctuary) and Narkatiaganj (to reach the central and eastern part of the sanctuary). Muzaffarpur and Gorakhpur are the nearest major junctions to get passenger/mail/express trains for Bagaha and Narkatiaganj. The Field Directorate located at the district headquarters of West Champaran at Bettiah, about 70 km from the sanctuary, is also on the same rail route.
Road Approach: The sanctuary is about 275 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar; 200 km from Muzaffarpur, major city and railhead of North Bihar; 70 km for Bettiah, district headquarters of West Champaran; and 125 km from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, by road. Vehicles can be hired from these places to reach the sanctuary.
Patna, Kolkata, and Gorakhpur.
Rules and Regulations
Valmiki National Park observes a vast set of rules and regulations. Liquor consumption or visiting under the influence of liquor is strictly prohibited.
Teasing or disturbing animals in their natural setting is prohibited. Damage to any plants or trees is not allowed.
Smoking or carrying any inflammable material is not allowed.
Playing any kind of music or any musical instrument during any treks or safaris is prohibited.
Carrying and consuming food in the forests is not allowed. Carrying ammunition or any arms is strictly prohibited.
Pros & Cons. –
Pros: Clean, unexplored, well maintained Eco huts and helpful staff of the forest department.
Cons: Connectivity and availability of any conveyance. (U have to depend on the vehicle of forest Department) Lack of trained guide. Non-availability of Jungle Safari at Naurangia Done.
Rating: 1 out of 5.
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