Patan, Gujarat Jan 28 , 2012 Sat 10 : 51 PM
A very Happy Basant Panchami to all .. auspicious day, auspicious beginnings, auspicious feel ..
My sleep deprivation prevented me from saying what I did want to say last night, but once the wrong button was pressed and all was lost, I did not have the nerve or energy to recapture it. But I do today and so shall put in an additional ..
Here at Patan, some 3 hours away from Ahmedabad, we are at the location that also prides itself in making the Patola Saris. But of that later. First to unfinished information on the Sun Temple of Modhera.
Modhera was chosen as the site for the Sun temple because the Tropic of Cancer passes through the city. The design of the temple is such that it catches the morning rays through its front opening and goes past the first structure onto the next which is the sanctum sanctorum, the place of worship for the Sun God, which according to information by efficient guide bore a large diamond, strategically positioned to catch the sun ray. The reflection then lit up the temple. The water body is where the King first bathed, did ‘pooja’ to the 108 images of the God’s around the walls of the water body and the entered the ‘sabha grah’ or meeting place in the first structure to be in prayer. 52 pillars, intricately carved hold up this ‘sabha grah’, the number of weeks in a year. The Sun God has 12 names, after the number of months in a year – Suraj, Arun …etc. the stone used is sand stone hence the rapid wear and tear, but the artistry in carving images on it all the more difficult especially when you see how detailed and intricate it is ..
In one of the photographs you see the entire temple with a large portion of the broken plinth lying. You may notice that the base of the temple was done on the design of the lotus leaf, and as you went higher the elephants took over. There are 12 such Sun temples all over the country. One prominent one now in Multan, Pakistan and they say even in Afghanistan, for in those early days and years this was all one region. The other very prominent sun temple is in the East in the state of Orissa, or its changed name Odisa, at Konark. This one has as its base the chariot wheels. Konark is perhaps better preserved because the invaders could not reach so far. All the monuments to the West faced destruction through invasion, treasures inside looted many times over and the fine art work left in devastated ruin. Why destroy the fine and intricate architecture ? Such a painful experience to see the destruction of some of the most extraordinary craftsmanship. Hitler was an invader too and caused through the War massive destruction, not just of humans. But when he saw Paris, he desisted. He never allowed it to be bombed or destroyed and left it in its pristine artistic state. Pity many of our treasures were either stolen or reduced to rubble. The treasures looted by Mehmood Ghazni and others was immense. Nadir Shah took away the famous Peacock throne to Iran, the British among many others took away the fabulous Kohinoor diamond, which adorns the Queens Crown even today … would we ever get it back …? I wonder … !!
On special occasions the Sun temple invites guests to classical performances at the precincts. the famed Bharatnatyam is performed on the periphery of the structure and it is a delight. I have suggested to have a Son et Lumiere done too. I would be more than willing to do the commentary, just as I have to the many other heritage and important structures in the country – Khajuraho Temples, Gwalior Fort, Tirupati Fort, Golconda Fort, the Sikh Heritage Memorial, …
So do visit the photographs again and live with its glory … a glory which we are trying to restore and restructure ..
My love ..