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Gujarat - Modhera - A Tourist's Guide
The Sun temple of Modhera
One of the prime and foremost enticements of Northern Gujarat is Modhera. Most of the tourists who congregate on the land of Modhera visit the spot for the holy Surya (Sun) temple, erected by 1st Bhimdev during 8th century. The excellent architectural spectacle of the temple amuses one and all. Opinions, however, vary regarding the name of the builder.
A rambling 15 square km of Sabhamandap, can be accessed crossing a grand doorway. The class-apart carvings on the colossal doorway of the temple would impress you. A museum, located at the left hand side of the renowned temple, has a huge collection of ancient substances.
The Sun temple of Modhera is one of the most reputed Sun temples among four of the renowned Sun temples (Konark, Martanda, Khajuraho, Modhera) of India. The Ranga Mandap is located right between the main temple and the holy well. Spiritual crowds enter into the temple through four of its gateways which are placed at four different sides of the temple. A portion of the historical and sanctified Sun temple had been demolished while the emperor Mahmud invaded the city. The earthquake of 19th century had also hit the temple severely. Nevertheless, the charming Sun temple has been reconstructed and reshaped very recently.
The geometrical map of the temple is such that whenever the Sun comes on the equator, the sunrays directly get reflected on the face of the idol of the 56*26 feet temple. It is true that the old grandeur of the temple has gradually been diminished and the chief idol of the temple is also not there but 12 deities are still offering blessings to all the devotees from the 12 neighboring bays. Idols of human beings, deities, animals and Mithun are there and are showing different postures. The idol of a woman who’s giving birth to her child is positioned at the right hand side of the main entrance. The gateway, nevertheless, has been destructed but the pillars on which the gateway used to stand upon are still standing tall to surprise all the pilgrims. The 15 square km of sprawling Sabha Mandap is catching the eyes of countless numbers of devotees as well. All the pillars, vaults, cornices, pyramid-shaped roof and tall peak depict a marvelous form of Indian fine arts. The pretty architectures of Modhera Sun temple are quite similar to that of Dilwara and Konark Sun temples.
A gigantic quadrilateral “Surya Kund” (15*20 meters), excavated right in front of the Sun temple, is surrounded by 108 diminutive holy temples. The kund or well, however, doesn’t contain water now. All these splendid temples are the epitomes of primeval architectures. A number of Deities, such as, Vishnu, Ganesh, Nataraj etc are residing on the holy throne of the temple. Pushpavati River marks its way through the land at the back end of the Sun temple.
Many climb up the hill to watch the ancient fort, atop the hilltop of Modhera.
Visit nearby Abu hill from Abu Road, about 118 km away from Mehsana. Both buses and trains are available on this route.
Becharaji temple, located at a distance of 17 km away from Modhera, is accessible by bus from Modhera. Devi Durga here is riding on seven of her haulers which are the symbols of seven days of a week. It is believed that the poor Durga who is worshipped in this finicky temple had been recovered by a farmer. Since then she is named as Becharaji. Countless numbers of women assemble on the consecrated premise of the temple with a worldly wish of getting a child. Lot of Eunuchs also visits the temple to get the blessings of Devi Durga. Many believe that the deity of the temple comes out of her heavenly shack during night to solve the problems of her followers.
Anhilawada Patan which was known to be the capital of the emperors of Solanki during 8th century is located at a distance of 29 km from Modhera. It was destructed by the brutal emperor Mahmud in 1024. 108 hallowed Jain temples are dotted around the entire territory of Anhilawada Patan. The Vav of Patan or the well shows a pretty evidence of primeval architectural splendor. The water level of the well can be accessed through a cascaded staircase. Innumerable deities are artistically engraved on each of these stair ways.
Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the sumptuousness of the newly revamped (1980) 7 storied Rani Ki Vav, built long back in 1050. This appealing Vav was dedicated to the Solanki queen Udaimati.
For watching thousands of Jyotirlingam and the impressive talav of Jaisimha (1094- 1142), you have to take a walk for some time. The Talav, however, is now waterless.
To remember the trip of Modhera for a long time purchase Patola Silk Sarees of Patan for your loved ones. Wooded carvings, demonstrated on the structures of the homes of Patan, are treats to the eyes of travelers.
Hotel Navjiban, Hotel Nirov, Hotel Ashis and Sarvodaya are few of the noteworthy names of the hotels of Patan.
Avail a bus to Taranga hill from Taranga which is about 57 km away towards the eastern side of Mehsana. Trains are also regularly traveling to Taranga from Mehsana. The Jain temple, dedicated to the 2nd Jain Tirthankar Ajitnath, was erected during the ruling period of Solanki dynasty. The holy temple had derived its name from the Buddha deity, Tara Devi. Artistically depicted architectures of the consecrated temple are the attractions. The idol here is carved out of white marbles. Idol of Mithun had also been engraved on the wall of the temple.
It is advisable to go back to Mehsana after watching the foremost allurement of Taranga but if you are tired and want to stay overnight at Taranga, then you can easily get a room at Taranga Dharamshala.
Apsara-Janta Hotel, Avon Guest House, Gujarat Lodging and Boarding House, Nataraj, Satya Vijay, Dharamshalas and Railway Retiring rooms are the available places where you can stay in Mehsana.
The nearby Water World Resort amusement park of Mehsana would not only entertain little toddlers but also the tourists. A Government office has been set up in the old and unique Rajmahal Palace of Mehsana.
About 45 km away from Taranga, Ambaji, is another pilgrimage spot for all the devotees. You can visit Abu Road, about 23 km away from Ambaji, by bus. Direct buses from Ambaji to Abu hill are also available.
The expensive Jain Rudramal temple in Sidhpur, about 43 km away towards the northern side of Mehsana, on the well-stretched-out Saraswati River banks, was erected by Solanki ruler Mulraja by spending as much as 14 millions way back during 10th century. The marvelous historical evidence, however, is now in ruins. The spectacular Rudramal temple marvelously depicts Solanki architectural majesty. A mosque had been constructed on the ruins of the temple previously. The gateways to both the mosque and temple are now closed for the general public. 4 contiguous pillars are carrying the memories of the historical days even today.
The birth place of the saint, Kapilmuni, is not very far away. Take a walk for 15 minutes from the bus stand of Sidhpur along the river banks of Saraswati to access the saint’s birth place. Many flock to Sidhpur for libation on the banks of Harsha Bindu Sarovar.
Rudramal Shiva Mandir, situated at the opposite side of the Kapilmuni Ashram and the Ram Mandir in Tapovan are the other coveted destinations for the swarms of spiritual people.
The entire city of Sidhpur is well adorned with palace like homes at the roadsides. The visible Daru architectures on the walls of these homes are truly amazing. Many of these roadside homes are now locked though. Gujarati Bohra Muslims are the chief inhabitants of the city.
Manika and Panchal are two Dharamshalas which are there in Sidhpur. Tourists can stay overnight at Ambaji Guest House in Sidhpur as well.
Balarampur Palace, once known as the hunting retreat of the Palanpur king, has now become a classic heritage hotel which is 14 km away from Palanpur. On the way to your desired destinations, you can take rest for some time in Palace Hotel, located amidst the compelling greeneries. Balaram- Ambaji Sanctuary is spread around the palace hotel.
Poshina Fort, built during 15th century, is located atop the Aravalli hill, at the mouth of two holy rivers. Old and unique Shiva and Jain temples are there as well. Various tribal communities are living there lives on the holy land. Chitra Vichitra fair which allures huge numbers of holiday makers is held during March-April.
Tourists can enjoy the stately ambiance of the heritage hotel namely Durbargarh.
Nature lovers would be thoroughly entertained watching the strolling deer in and around the Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, covering a straggling area of 180 square km. The green manor is located at a distance of 45 km away from Palanpur.
To watch the marriage ceremonies of Kadwakanbis communities you have to travel to Unjha. The most interesting aspect of this marriage ceremony is that, it takes place once every 11 years. Diversified rituals and programs can be witnessed here. It would be a nice and different experience for all the tourists who assemble on the premise of Unjha.
365 Shiva temples are surrounding the beautiful Munsar Lake in Viramgam. Don’t miss the opportunity to gaze at this wonderful sight. Viramgam can be accessed by bus or by hiring a car from Mehsana.
How to reach: Modhera can be easily accessible by bus from Mehsana, about 26 km away towards the western side of Mehsana. Mehsana is well connected to many Indian destinations both by buses and by trains. Mehsana is located on the Delhi- Ahmadabad railway track and can be accessed from Delhi, Ahmadabad, Mumbai, Jodhpur and Ajmer by trains. Buses from Mehsana also ply to Abu road, Ranakpur, Ajmer, Ahmadabad, Vadodara, Surat and many more West Indian cities.
Where to stay: Accomodation in Modhera is a problem. Not many hotels with quality services are available at Modhera. Few hotels, however, are there for the tourists. Balaram Palace Resort is available both in Modhera and Patan. For staying at Modhera you can also book a room at PWD Rest House or at Panchayat Rest House or at Dharamshala. It’s not a bad idea to take a walk to the Toran Restaurant of TCGL for food. Better to stay at Mehsana.
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