Kutch, Gujarat : Patan to Modhera | Horn please, OK?

Kutch, Gujarat : Patan to Modhera

Day 2 : Patan -> Modhera
When : February 2014 | How far : 36 kms | How long : 50 mins


The Exotic & the Erotic at the Sun Temple, Modhera


The Sun temple at Modhera is famous for a ton of things least of which is the Khajurahoesque erotic sculptures that adorn its walls. But, more on that later


Here comes the Sun

The Tropic of Cancer passes somewhere through Modhera, which makes it an obvious choice of site for a sun temple. The sun wanting to make a point and not be out shined by the temple, beat down on our backs. But what's a little sun when you've scaled the Gingee fort at 2 in the afternoon on a hot day in May.

The 1000 year old, Vaastu compliant Sun temple is older than the more famous one at Konark and was built to house Surya, the Sun God. Our guide (and we always get one because they invariably have all the fun facts) claimed that the idol had a huge diamond strapped on to its head which reflected the early morning rays and lit up the inside of the temple.

Travel tip : Be smart and get a guide when visiting a historical monument. They're more interesting than your history teacher and better informed than Wikipedia. Ask to see their registration card/badge


The temple has survived two raids by Mohammed Ghazni & Allaudin Khilji but still stands pretty.The structure is divided into three sections the Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and the main temple

The The Surya Kund is a water reservoir which was used by priests to perform ablutions before entering the main temple.  Its got a fascinating geometrical structure with 108 small temples lining the sides and steps of the reservoir




"How much you charge, madam?"

While trying to get a good shot of the water body and thus possibly contorting myself sufficiently to look like a semi-professional,  I was accosted by 3 little boys who wanted their photographs taken. They opened the conversation with, "How much you charge madam?", followed by "Where is wireless printer? We want print outs of our photos". Very tech-savvy of them. They settled instead for squinting into the display screen and giving me a thumbs up before sauntering off to find a more resourceful photographer with a wireless printer.

A photo shoot in progress

The Sabha Mandap is a hall with 52 intricately carved pillars to depict the number of weeks in a year. The carvings are mostly scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The hall is open from all four sides and offer some lovely views of the temple compound





The sanctum sanctorum or part of the temple where the deity was kept, has equally intricately carved pillars but with a lot more erotica.

Take that Section 377, you prude!




You've probably skipped all the lovely bits of prose before this section. We would've too if we were you.

The temple is studded with depictions of events from religious texts and epics interspersed with some very graphic scenes of lovemaking. You've got to give it to the old inhabitants of Modhera. They knew their way around!

 



So how did erotica make its way into a place of prayer and piety, you ask? So did we.

Temples back in the day were not built merely for the religious minded but also served as a place for education and art. Subjects would travel from all over the kingdom to admire the elaborate architecture, imbibe lessons in morality and learn about the birds and the bees. A one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about life.

Our learned guide had some theories to add

1. The king believed that images of erotica would attract rain which would mean a better crop yield
2. A great medium of sex education for the masses
3. To buck the trend of more and more young men embracing celibacy to serve god, and lure them back to a 'family life'

The Sun Temple at Modhera may not be an active temple anymore but its still an excellent source of education for the curious and adventurous.  

Stories from the entire trip
Day 1 -> Mumbai to Zainabad
Day 2 -> Zainabad to Patan
Day 2 -> You just read it
Day 2 -> Little Rann of Kutch
Day 3 -> Dholavira & the Great Rann
Day 4 -> Coming soon
Day 5 -> Coming soon
Day 6 & 7 -> Coming soon

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