If you are a connoisseur of art, music and dance, you must be at the Modhera sun temple to get a real ethereal experience. The starry nights come alive to the rhythmic fervor and musical extravaganza that Modhera features during the pleasant January nights when Modhera dance festival or Uttarardh Mahotsav is held at the Modhera Sun temple grounds. Modhera sun temple; a temple belonging to the Sun God or Surya Dev, is an architectural marvel of the Solankis and dates back to the 11th century. The grandeur of the temple offers the most apt backdrop for the most vibrant and aesthetically charged dance forms presented by various renowned classical dance performers plus dance troupes who gather at Modhera during the festive times.
The temple is dressed up in festive hues projected by colorful lights that are used to deck the temple and give it a glorious, festive look. An enticing panorama of dance styles and forms presented out there generate a curious spacio-temporal interplay that literally leaves you in a state of trance which you don’t wish to break free from. The dancers performing at Modhera are skilled enough to fuse with the grandiose ambiance and breathe life into the sandstone sculptures ornately carved on the temple wall. This is an annual festival and is organized by the TCGL or Tourism Corporation of Gujarat with the purpose of celebrating the age-old tradition as well as treasure of performing arts that our country has.
Background & History
Modhera dance festival is termed as ‘Uttarardh’ and the nomenclature bears connection with the sun’s astronomical as well as planetary configurations. The dances are performed at the Sun temple premises in honor of the Sun God. This dance festival follows the Uttarayan festival; a festival that marks the inception of the sun’s journey northward. Next comes the Uttarardh festival that marks the ardh or adha or halfway journey of sun towards north.
In India dance assumes the stature of an aesthetically charged yoga that can be made use of to attain the spiritual in a corporeal way. In Indian history classical dance performances have a deep correlation with the temple set up. Historical as well as literary evidences show a deep connection between divinity and expressional dance forms. Nagar Utsav for instance was one such festival where performances were ideally performed in the temple premises. Modhera dance festival is therefore not a departure from tradition but very much an alliance with tradition in the modern times.
When to Visit
This dance festival of Modhera is held each year on the weekend of January month’s third week and after the celebrations of the Uttarayan festival. So, it’s best to visit the city.
How to reach
The city of Modhera comes under Gujarat’s Mehsana district and can be reached easily from all other cities of Gujarat by means of public and private buses, cabs etc. The railway station lying in closest proximity to Modhera is Mehsana railway station; nearly 40kms away from the city. Local trains and express trains can make you reach Mehsana station from where you need to avail road transport to reach the festival venue; i.e. the Sun temple. Those who wish to travel by flight may travel to Ahmadabad airport which falls nearest to Modhera and then complete the rest of the journey by means of road transport.
Who all will visit?
Dance connoisseurs, art connoisseurs, cultural enthusiasts from different corners of the country and globe gather at Modhera during the dance festival in order to enjoy the splendid performances of both classical as well as folk dancers plus musicians coming there to showcase their skills. Local denizens of Modhera too are a part of the dance festival.
Modhera Sun Temple Sightseeing
When you are at Modhera and have come to attend the dance festival you may grab an opportunity to get some extra pleasure by traveling to the nearby tourist attractions. Places to see in and around Modhera include Becharaji temple, Patan, Unjha, Sidhpur, Mehsana, Maatangi Modheshwari temple.