Modhera, in Gujarat, is the site of one of the most exquisite sun temples in India. Facing the east, the temple is built in such a manner that during the equinox, the rays of the rising sun shine straight through to the shrine. According to a legend, Modhera was the original settlement of the Modh Brahmins, who were gifted this land on the occasion of Lord Rama's marriage to Princess Sita. Today, although the Sun Temple is in ruins, it is still bathed in a halo of majestic beauty. One can feel the presence of the past while walking through the temple's hallowed precincts.
Built in 1026 A.D. during the reign of the Solanki king, Bhima I, the imposing temple is one of the best specimens of Indian art and architecture. The niches of the inner walls contain images of the Sun God fashioned Iranian style. The doorways, domes, walls and pillars are richly decorated with intricate carvings of gods in cosmic evolution, demons in revolt, angels and humans. In front of the temple is the Surya Kund, a pond used by devotees to wash themselves before entering the temple. There are over 100 small temples on the step-terraces around this huge pond.
Not content with defacing the temple, invaders placed bags of gunpowder in the underground shrine and blew it up. Yet, the temple stands erect, reminding visitors of its glorious past.
Palitana lies on Western Railway's metre gauge line, 277 kms from Ahmedabad.