SUN TEMPLES IN INDIA- THE ANCIENT HERITAGE

sun temples in india

Sun temples in India occupy one of the most prominent places. Built by different kings at different periods as an act of devotion towards Surya Narayan (Lord Sun), these places are also known to have great planetary effects on human life.

Although there are various famous sun temples in India, some of which are now completely in ruins due to various attacks and loot by different invaders in the history, still the magnificence of the place is unavoidable. Some of these temples have been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Here is a list of Sun temples in India which are considered not only a sacred place of worship but are also enlisted in the ancient heritage of India.

 

Martand Sun Temple, Kashmir

martand sun temple kashmir

Quick details about Martand Sun Temple Kashmir
Famous as: Martand Surya Mandir Dedicated to: Surya Narayan (The Sun God)
Location: Surya Mandir Rd, Anantnag, Srinagar, Kashmir Built by: King Lalitaditya of Kashmir in 8th century AD
Maintained by: ASI, India Architectural style: Nagara style Architecture

The exquisitely beautiful architecture of Martand Sun temple Kashmir is not only a sacred pilgrimage for Hindus but also one of the oldest and rich specimens of the ancient Indian heritage. Built as a form of devotion towards lord Surya Narayan, by king Lalitaditya of Kashmir in the 8th century AD, this famous Sun temple in India features one of the finest artistic skills of the bygone eras. The temple is known to be the oldest Sun temples in India and is praised for its design, beauty and art.

Martand Sun Temple Architecture

The architecture and grandeur of the Martand Sun temple Kashmir belongs to the 8th century AD.  Built by King Lalitaditya the king of Kashmir this architectural marvel is built in nagara style of temple architecture. This oldest Sun temple in India is taken under by ASI now, who works for the maintenance of this exquisite piece of heritage.

Although belonging to a rich cultural heritage this oldest Sun temple in India is in complete ruins now but the grandeur of the temple still speaks for itself. The temple features 84 huge columns to support the main sanctum architecture with beautiful carvings on the wall of the temple. Another fascinating thing about the architecture of Martand Sun temple of Kashmir is that it was built with limestone and is situated on the top of a plateau known as Mattan.

Apart from the architecture the visitors are also mesmerized by the surrounding greenery of the place. This temple also provides a bird eye view of the entire area which is quite a sight to behold.

Fascinating things about Martand Sun Temple Kashmir

  1. The rich architectural and engineering dexterity of medieval India.
  2. The oldest and the biggest Surya Mandir of India (now in ruins).
  3. The beautiful location of the temple.

Location

Martand Sun temple is located in Anantnag just at a distance of just 5 miles, in Srinagar, Kashmir.

How to reach

Nearest airport: Srinagar air force base airport which is 11 KM away from Martand Surya Mandir.

Nearest railway head: Anantnag Railway station

Best time to visit: Summers from April to Sep.

 

Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Tamilnadu

Suryanar sun temple tamilnadu

Quick details about Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Tamilnadu
Famous As: Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Known As: Paihara Sthalam
Dedicated to: Surya Narayan and Navagraha Deities Built: 11 century AD by King Kulottunga Chola
Located: Mayiladuthurai roa, Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu Architectural style: Dravidian Architecture

Located in the small beautiful village of Suryanar Koil near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, the Suryanar Kovil temple is one of the sacred Navagrah temples of Tamilnadu, dedicated to lord Surya dev.  This oldest Sun temple in India holds a pious and higher place in Hinduism where people go for the navagrah upasana. Devotees pray to lord surya narayan and other planetary deities here, for a healthy life while protecting them from adverse planetary effects.

Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Architecture

The Suryanar Kovil temple architecture is one of the finest specimens of the Dravidian style of architecture. Built in 11 century AD during the reign of King Kulottunga Chola; with some additions and renovations done later during the reign of Vijayanagar Empire, this famous Sun temple in India is dedicated to lord Surya and the Navagrah deities.

The architectural grandeur of this majestic sun temple in India features a five tiered gopuram, a grand gateway tower and a magnificent granite wall encapsulating the entire shrine within the temple premises. The temple is designed to face west with the presiding deity mounted on a vimaanam representing the Surya dev chariot.

Fascinating things about Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Tamilnadu

  1. 10-day Ratha Saptami festival celebrated annually between January and February. The festivals mark the starting of harvesting season.
  2. One of the rare temples where navagrah deities and Surya Dev are worshipped together.
  3. The architectural splendor and magnificence of the temple.
  4. A sense of tranquility at the temple.

Location

The Suriyanar Koil Sun Temple is located in the east of Kumbakonam, on Mayiladuthurai road. From Thirumangalakudi Bus Stop it is around 1 km and from Kumbakonam Railway Station, it is around 15 km.

How to reach

Nearest airport: Tiruchirapalli airport

Nearest railhead: Kumbakonam railway station

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the sacred Suryanar Kovil temple is during the Tamil month of Thai which is between mid January to mid February. The temple hosts the grand festival of Ratha Saptami during this time which is a 10 daylong event celebrated with much pomp and show.

 

Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

konark sun temple odisha

Quick details about Konark Sun Temple Odisha
Famous As: A sacred Hindu Temple, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Remarkable Architecture Known As: Black Pagoda, Arka khetra, Padma khetra
Dedicated to: Surya Narayan (The Sun God) Built: 12 century AD by King Narasimha Deva I
UNESCO: Declared as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984 Architectural style: Kalinga Architecture
Located: 35 km from Puri, Odisha Maintained by: ASI, India

Among the various architectural jewels of India, the sacred Konark Sun temple Odisha, stands tall representing the pinnacle of Odisha’s rich heritage and architecture while continuing to leave its visitors spellbound with its massive structure, symmetry, precision and intricate detailing. Built in traditional Kalinga style, this beautiful sun temple in India is dedicated to the Bhagwan Surya Narayan (the Sun God).

The Konark Sun temple was built by King Narasimha Deva I, in 12 century AD as an act of devotion towards suryadev. The temple presently has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984.

Konark Sun temple Architecture

The architecture marvel of Konark Sun temple Odisha is designed as a massive chariot of Suryadev driven by twenty four beautifully carved wheels and pulled by seven horses. The temple is built in traditional Kalinga architectural style, and consists of a Nirtya-mandapa (dancing hall), a Vimana (main temple) for housing the deity, and a Jagamohana (hall in front of vimana) the place from where worshippers could have a glimpse of the deity. In the traditional Orissan architecture these types of temples are called pancha-ratha-dekha deul, as each of its facades are further broken into 5 small projections. Apart from being a few masterpieces of the Odisha medieval architecture, this place is also amongst the most prominent Sun temples in India.

Fascinating things about Konark Sun temple

  1. The impressive architecture of this famous sun temple in India is built entirely by Chlorite, Laterite, and Khondalite rocks.
  2. The intricately designed motifs and beautiful sculptures on the wall and other areas of the Konark Sun temple are also impressive.
  3. Morning or Sunrise view of the temple.
  4. The engineering dexterity of the artisans who designed the temple.
  5. Konark dance festival celebrated between 1-5 December annually.

Location

The Konark sun temple is located in northeast of the city of Puri at a distance of 35 km, on the coastline of the state of Odisha.

Best time to visit

The city of Konark is a coastal area for which summers between April and August can be quite hot and humid. Therefore, as a visitor the best time for local sightseeing is between September and March.

Note: Since the temple is dedicated to lord Suryadev, the sunrise view of the temple is spellbounding.   

How to reach

Nearest Airport:  Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar, at a distance of 64 km.

Nearest Railhead: Puri railway station at a distance of 30 km.

 

Sun Temple Modhera, Gujarat

modhera sun temple gujarat

Quick details about Sun Temple Modhera, Gujarat
Famous As: Modhera Surya Mandir Built: King Bhimdev of the Chalukya dynasty in 1026-27 AD
Dedicated to: Surya Narayan (The Sun God) Maintained by: ASI, India
Located: Modhera, Gujarat Architectural style: Chalukya style Architecture

Radiating splendor and grandeur of the glorious past of India, the sacred Sun temple of Modhera Gujarat is one of the most beautiful and famous Sun temples in India. Dedicated to Surya Narayan (the Sun God) it is also one of the oldest Sun temples of India after Martand Surya Mandir of Kashmir, which was built in 8th century.

The architectural marvel of Sun temple of Modhera Gujarat is believed to be built around 1026-27 AD by King Bhimdev of the Chalukya dynasty.

Modhera Sun Temple Architecture

The Sun temple Modhera, Gujarat is one of the finest manifestations of the Maru-Gurjara Style or Chalukya style of architecture. The temple features 3 main sections namely Gudamandapa (The central shrine), a Sabha Mandapa (assembly hall) and a kunda (a stepped water well).

The front of the temple is marked with a beautiful step well shaped Ram kunda which leads to an octagonal shaped sabha mandap with 52 beautifully carved pillars representing 52 weeks of a year. The roof of this majestic hall has a beautifully carved out ceiling which is a major highlight of the place. The outer walls of this sun temple in India features intricately designed sculptures and motifs which magnifies the grandeur of the temple ever more.

The main sanctum is erected on a plinth that looks like an inverted lotus. It is marked with intricate carvings of various gods and goddesses on the inner and outer walls. The idol was placed in the main sanctum in such a way that the first rays of sun would fall on it during equinox, illuminating the idol. 

Fascinating things about Sun temple Modhera Gujarat

  1. The Sun temple of Modhera is one of the oldest and famous Sun temples in India and a finest example of the rich cultural heritage of the state of Gujarat.
  2. The Sun temple is built on tropic of cancer, with an entrance of the main sanctum facing east. The structural symmetry of the place makes the sun rays fall on the idol during the equinox days illuminating the idol.
  3. The temple is said to be made up of sandstone without the usage of any plaster, which makes it even more fascinating.
  4. Modhera dance festival celebrating myriad dance forms of India, organized annually on the 3rd week of January.

Location

The Modhera Sun temple is located in the Modhera village of Mehasana district, which is about 100 km from Ahemdabad, Gujarat.

How to reach

Nearest airport: Ahmedabad airport

Nearest railhead: Mahesana junction

Best time to visit

Summers are the hottest in western states of India. Thus its advisable to visit Gujarat during winters (October-March) when the temperature goes down.

 

Related Questions to Sun Temples in India

 

Which is the oldest Sun temple in India?

Martand Surya Mandir is the oldest amongst the sun temples in India currently. The temple was built in 8th century AD by King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir as an act of devotion towards Lord Surya Dev.

How many Sun temples are there in India?

The above mentioned sun temples in the article are some of the most ancient sun temples of India. Apart from the mentioned 4, here is a list of the other sacred Sun temples in India:

  • Sun temple Gaya, Bihar
  • Surya Pahar Temple, Assam
  • Surya Narayana Temple, Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh
  • The Bhramanya Dev Temple at Unao, Madhya Pradesh
  • Sun Temple, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
  • Sun Temple, Ranchi, Jharkhand
  • Surya Narayana Temple, Domlur, Bangalore

Which is the famous Sun temple in India?

The Sun temple of Konark, Odisha, and the Sun temple of Modhera, Gujarat, right now are amongst the most famous Sun temples in India. The Konark Sun temple has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Where are Sun temples in India?

Almost each of the states in India has a Sun temple. Here is a list of some of the widely known Sun temples in the following states:

  • Sun temple Gaya, Bihar
  • Surya Pahar Temple, Assam
  • Surya Narayana Temple, Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh
  • The Bhramanya Dev Temple at Unao, Madhya Pradesh
  • Sun Temple, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
  • Sun Temple, Ranchi, Jharkhand
  • Surya Narayana Temple, Domlur, Bangalore
  • Martand Sun temple Kashmir
  • The Konark Sun temple Odisha
  • Modhera Sun temple Gujarat
  • Suryanar Kovil Kumbakonam Tamilnadu