Chasing the Sun

Photography Challenge: Developing Your Eye

Day Ten: Architecture

This is my last week in Gujarat. Thus, we decided to go explore some of its architectural marvels that lie tucked inside its nondescript villages and towns as sentinels of the heritage that shapes this land. These structures have borne witness to the storms that time brings from natural calamities to foreign invasions and have millions of stories to tell someone who is willing to pay a little attention.

So, today on our itinerary was the Sun Temple at Modhera, Gujarat. Carved completely out of frail sandstone (without the use of mortar), this 990-year-old temple is one of the two temples in India that have been dedicated to the Sun God. One of the finest specimens of Solanki architecture, the panels on the temple structure depict different mythological scenes from the Indian epics as well as scenes from the daily lives of the contemporary people. On every equinox, the sun rays shine directly into the sanctum sacrosanct (Garbhagriha) bathing the interiors of the temple in a golden light. It is believed that the golden statue of the resident deity had been looted away in one of the military invasions of Alauddin Khalji. Thus, the once glorious temple had fallen into neglect and dereliction.

This image depicts the Ram Kund, a sacred reservoir in front of the temple that pilgrims used to take a dip in for absolution from sins. Around the kund, 108 miniature shrines and temples have been built in honour of different Hindu deities. Today, the reservoir has dried up and the only water it collects comes from the rains. However, the resultant architectural spectacle is truly breathtaking.

Here is another image of the beautiful structure.

Ram Kund, Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat

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