Psychedelic hues of red, yellow, green lights illuminating nooks and corners of intricately carved the Sun Temple of Modhera, during dark and breezy nights of January, create a Chiaroscuro effect of time and space! The Sun Temple of Modhera is a masterpiece of the Golden Age of the Solanki Empire, which hosts the annual Dance Festival and flaunts the glory and splendor of that era. The Modhera Dance Festival which is also prevalently known as the Uttarardh Mahotsavor Modhera Utsavis is one of the most famous celebration of art, music, dance and culture, in this part of the country. This unique occurrence showcases traditional dance forms of the region as well as acts as a platform bringing together the cultural ethos of other regions expressed in form of dance or nritya.
Modhera, the temple of the Sun narrating the history and grandeur of its patrons, the Solankis, is an architectural marvel. This peerless temple space acts as a grandiose backdrop for the vibrant expression of dancers and aesthetical ethnicity of the country. Dance troupes and performers from all regions of the nation bring along a panorama of varied dance forms and styles, interlaced with the essence of their origins. The performers blend in the ambience and bring life to the sandstone figurines carved on the edifice of the temple, singing and narrating legends of times bygone.
The three day festival of Uttarardh Mahotsavis is organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL), to venerate and celebrate the inherited treasure of performing arts of the country. The Modhera festival is an ideal opportunity to experience living heritage of Indian dance and music while traversing back in time sitting in the lap of golden history.
mostly in the month of January
In Mehsana district of Gujarat a dance festival is celebrated known as Modhera Dance Festival. Of every year in January month and at third week, this festival is enjoyed for three days. In Modhera a Sun temple is situated where this festival is held after the Uttrayan festival. This city is situated 102kms far and at north of Ahmedabad. Tourists making plan for this city can easily visit either by planes or by trains. The nearest airport is located at Ahmedabad whereas the closest railway head is situated in Mehsana district. This Mehsana district is 30kms far and is well connected with Modhera city with various roads. Numerous state buses and direct buses are available that take around few hours to reach at destination. One can even hire cabs, jeep or private taxis and can make their trip more comfortable at economic rates.
According to the Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana, the areas near Modhera were known during ancient days as Dharmaranya (literally meaning the forest of righteousness). According to these Puranas, Lord Rama, after defeating Ravana, asked sage Vasistha to show him a place of pilgrimage where he could go and purify himself from the sin of Brahma-hatya (the sin of killing a Brahmin, because Ravana was a Brahmin by birth). Sage Vasistha showed him Dharmaranya, which was near the modern town of Modhera. In the Dharmaranya, he settled at a village Modherak and performed a yagna there. Thereafter he established a village and named it Sitapur. This village is about 15 km from Becharaji Modherak village and it subsequently came to be known as Modhera.
The Sun Temple was built by Bhimdev I of Solanki dynasty in 1026. This was the time when Somnath and the adjoining area was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni and reeled under the effects of his invasion. The Solankis, however, regained much of their lost power and splendour. Anhilwad Patan, the Solanki capital, was restored to glory.
Solankis were considered to be Suryavanshi Gurjar or descendants of Sun god. The temple was so designed that the first rays of the sun fell on the image of Surya, the Sun God, at the time equinoxes.
Disclaimer: You are requested to check the exact dates with Gujarat Tourism Online office before finalising your travel plans for this festival.
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