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Modhera Sun Temple

The Modhera Sun Temple is a temple dedicated to the Hindu sun god, Surya. It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. The architecture of the temple is quite unique. The Modhera Sun Temple is comprised of three distinct areas: Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap, and Guda Mandap. The Surya Kund is a large rectangular stepped tank used to store pure water. Devotees were required to perform ceremonial ablutions here before worshiping Surya. The stone steps are organized into an intricate geometrical pattern leading devotees down to its base. 108 miniature shrines are carved in between the steps inside the tank. There are four terraces descending into the tank, with small pyramid-shaped steps for each terrace. From there, two huge ornamental arches form a gateway to Sabha Mandap-the assembly hall. The Sabha Mandap is a magnificent pillared hall, constructed to house religious gatherings. It is open from all sides and has 52 intricately carved pillars depicting various episodes from the Hindu epics. Between the Sabha Mandapa and the Guda Mandap is a beautiful hall with pillars and arches. The Guda Mandap is known as the main temple, or the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is designed in the shape of the lotus flower, a symbol of the sun god. A bejeweled pure gold idol of Surya riding on his chariot was placed above a pit 15 feet deep and filled with gold coins. It was plundered by Mahmud Gazni at the end of the 11th century.