General view from the south-east of the Surya Temple, Modhera
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Surya Temple at Modhera, Gujarat, from the south-west, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1880s, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. This temple is one of the finest achievements of the Solanki period in Gujarat. It was built in 1027 and although in ruinous condition it still reflects its former splendour. The temple consists of the sanctuary, two mandapas or columned hallways, a gateway, and a tank, all aligned to the east. The closed hall, or gudha mandapa, adjoins the sanctuary and the open pillared portico, or sabha mandapa, stands between the closed mandapa and the tank, both are built on a stepped plan. The lower portion of the main shrine and adjoining hall is elaborately carved with friezes of elephants, horses and the upper wall portions have panels with many images of the divinities. In the gudha mandapa tall columns arranged in an octagon support the roof. The columns are richly carved with miniature figures of divinities and amorous couples, scrollwork and jewelled motifs. Figures of ghanas project from the brackets and the architraves are also covered with sculptures. The sabha mandapa has four entrances with intricately carved cusped arches above columns carved with miniature figures and scrollwork. In front of the portico are two columns, the remains of the gateway, or torana, at the top of a flight of steps that lead down to the Surya-Kunda. In this view the sabha mandapa is on the right and the gudha mandapa and the main sanctuary are on the left, partly obscured by a tree in the foreground.