Modhera is famous for its Sun Temple.The Sun Temple is one of the finest examples of Indian temple architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank.
Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is superbly carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers which 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.
This temple, though not as famous as those of Konark and Khajuraho has resemblance with these temples in architectural style. Modhera's sun temple is positioned in such a manner that at the equinoxes the rising sun strikes the images in the sanctuary. It also incorporates an amusement park, a museum, a cafeteria, picture gallery and library. Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.
Nearest airport is at Ahmedabad 102 kms. away. The nearest railway station is Mehsana. 2½ hours journey from Ahmedabad (119kms.). State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various major towns and cities of Gujarat.
The similarity between the two is evident in that the idols were installed to be naturally lit by the sun. In the case of Modhera, the icon was placed so that it was bathed in light at the time of the equinoxes.
The large, stepped, stone kund with recesses for small images of subsidiary deities, leads up a staircase to a torana, with fine, broad-based pillars sans their joining arch. The now spireless shrine, built on a raised platform, is entered through a great, octagonal, pillared pavilion carved in the lavish fashion favoured by the Solankis. At a distance, the pillars give the appearance of solid mass.
Close up, they produce exactly the opposite effect, so finely carved and full of detail are they. As in other Surya temples, the carvings are predominantly of female attendants. Rows of frames carved out on each pillar hold graceful dancing figures as well as the plump gana-s or yaksha-s that seem to hover around the gods.
A separate structure from this pavilion is the closed mandapa beyond it leading to the Pradakshina path and Garbha Griha. The temple may once have had more than one level but in its state of ruin it is difficult to tell. Recurring images of the sun god appear at important positions throughout the structure, especially on the 'dedicatory block above the mandapa doorway'.
In Modhera too, as in Kashmir, the representation of the Sun God seems to indicate a foreign model for the figure is clothed for cold weather in boots and cloak, unfamiliar to Gujarat. However, the main idols, and his sunken garba griha, are lost to us forever. It is fortunate that his chariot pulled by seven horses was drawn from the rubble around the temple before it could be further ruined.
Although the temple's shikhar is missing, the spires of the small 'kund' temples are an indication of what it might have looked like. Even though probably more curvilinear than those of Konark or Khajuraho, Modhera's spire followed the basic Nagara pattern of vertical lines meeting at a point directly above the garba griha.
In front of the temple is a colossal tank, which was once known as Surya Kund or Rama Kund .The tank has a sequence of carved steps leading to the bottom. Several miniature shrines adorn the steps of the tank - which is an art gallery in itself.
Modhera is now the site of several dance and cultural festivals. The sun temple and the ambience here provide a majestic backdrop for the exhibition of performing arts.