7 Incredible Sun Temples of India | Surya Mandir

Sun Temples of India

Here is a list of top sun temples of India that you must visit, most of these temples are architectural marvels, with beautiful sculptures and carvings.

Sun Temples of India

The many sun temples of India reflect the importance accorded to the worship of the sun in the Hindu religion. Sun worship in India dates back to the Vedic times and beyond. The sun is important in Hindu iconography, philosophy, and metaphysics.

It occupies a position of eminence in Vedic rituals and is an integral part of the Upanishads. Great saints and philosophers of India from Sage Vishwamitra to Swami Vivekananda have eulogized the sun and underlined its importance to the universe and the very essence of life.

We take a look in this post at some of the famous sun temples of India, however, before that it is important to get an idea about the genesis of sun worship and its significance in India.

Top Sun Temples of India – Sacred Surya Mandir

Sun Temples of India

The sun or Surya and his various manifestations have always been revered in traditional worship. The sun is one of the deities who is worshipped as part of the Panchayatna Puja that was popularized by Adi Shankaracharya.

The Gayatri Mantra, which is a mantra (Sanskrit Hymn) from the Rig Veda is dedicated to Savitr, a Vedic deity who is a manifestation of the sun. Savitr is the latent form of the Sun, before sunrise, the divine entity of the sun is known as Savitr, while between sunrise to sunset, he is Surya.

Sun Temples of India | 7 Famous Sun Temples in India

Modhera Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India

Sun worship in India can be traced as far back as the neolithic period. Crude images of the sun etched in rock in a rock shelter in the Sundargarh district of Odisha vouch for this fact. Similar signs of early Sun worship have been found in other parts of India as well. Early Man, must have been awed by the effulgent glory of the heavenly body in the skies and must have bowed down in reverence.

However, the worship of the Sun as a primary deity has declined over time. Though the Sun or Surya continues to be an integral part of Hindu religion and rituals, temples entirely dedicated to his worship are few. Most of these temples where the Sun occupied the place of honour in the Sanctum are today in ruins. There are just a handful of live Sun temples, where worship continues to date.

Here is a list of the most famous Sun temples in India:

  • Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
  • Modhera Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat
  • Martand Sun Temple, Mattan, Kashmir
  • Katarmal Sun Temple, Katarmal, Uttarakhand
  • Suryanar Kovil, Thirumangalakudi, Tamil Nadu
  • Balaji Sun Temple, Madhya Pradesh
  • Ranakpur Sun Temple, Rajasthan

Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha

Konark Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India
Konark Sun Temple – One of the Sun Temples of India

One of the grandest temples ever built for the Sun God has to be the Sun temple in Konark, Odisha. It is one of the top must-visit Sun temples in India. It is a massive structure built in the shape of a giant chariot drawn by seven horses.

The temple is not only an example of the architectural and artistic genius of its builders, but also an ode to their mastery over the science of astronomy and electromagnetism. The ruins of the Konark Sun temple are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The structure that stands today dates back to the 13th century and was built during the reign of King Narasimhadeva I, of the Ganga dynasty. Though much of the temple has been destroyed, whatever remains of the massive temple is enough to give a glimpse of its past glory.

The iconic Konark wheel is of course one of the attractions of the temple. There are 24 wheels, 12 on either side of the temple, and they can tell the time of the day even today.

The Konark Sun Temple is located about 72 kilometres from Bhubaneshwar. It is 36 kilometres from the temple town of Puri, known for its famous Rath Yatra and Jagannath temple.

Modhera Sun Temple, Gujarat

Modhera Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India1
Modhera Sun Temple –  One of the Sun Temples of India

Less than 100 kilometres from the heritage city of Ahmedabad lies a unique and exquisite encomium to the Sun, the Modhera Sun Temple. It is considered to be one of the top Sun Temples in India. It is a grand structure with pleasing aesthetics that stands not far from the banks of the River Pushpavati.

The Modhera Sun temple adheres to the Maru-Gurjara style of architecture. Though the main deity is missing from the sanctum, the flamboyantly decorated outer walls make up for its absence.

The Modhera Sun Temple consists of three parts, a lovely waterbody with decorative steps known as Kund, the Sabhamandapa, and the Garbagriha. The temple was built in the 11th century by King Bhima of the Chaulukya (Soni) dynasty.

Martand Sun Temple, Kashmir 

Martand Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India
Martand Sun Temple –  One of the Sun Temples of India

The Martand Surya Mandir is one of the oldest sun temples in India. It dates back to the 8th century when it was built during the reign of King Lalitaditya, who was also known as Muktapida. King Lalitaditya was a powerful king of the Karkota dynasty.

Surya, the Sun God, is also known by the name Martand, and hence the name of the temple. The temple is in ruins now. The temple was marauded and destroyed by invaders during the late 14th or early 15th centuries. Subsequent earthquakes contributed to its destruction, leaving behind mere ruins in dilapidated condition now.

The Martand Sun temple is one of the most famous Sun temples in India and is located near Anantnag in the state of Kashmir, in Northern India. Martand Sun temple is considered as the oldest Sun Temple in India.

Katarmal Sun Temple, Uttarakhand

Katarmal Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India
Katarmal Sun Temple –  One of the Sun Temples of India

Uttarakhand is one of the most beautiful states of India and is blessed with immense natural beauty. Uttarakhand is also home to many ancient temples and places of pilgrimage. These include the likes of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and temples including Baijnath Shiv temple, and the Katarmal Sun temple.

The Katarmal Sun temple in India is a small but beautifully designed temple. It is included in the list of famous sun temples of India. The Katarmal Sun temple was built by a king of the Katyuri dynasty, named Katarmalla, hence the name of the temple. The exact year or even century when the temple was built has not been established, however, it is believed that the temple was built between the 9th and 13th centuries.

The Katarmal Sun temple stands against the backdrop of a lush green hill and is a pleasing sight. The main temple is surrounded by many miniature temples. The original deity of the temple is missing, and the temple is today, an ASI-protected monument. The Katarmal Sun Temple is located about 19 kilometres from Almora.

Suryanar Kovil, Tamil Nadu

Suryanar Kovil, Thirumangalakudi - Sun Temples Of India
Suryanar Kovil, Thirumangalakudi –  One of the Sun Temples of India

Suryanar Kovil is one of the famous Surya Temple in India, which is located in South India. The temple is located near the famous temple town of Kumbakonam in the Thanjavur District. The Suryanar Kovil is a temple dedicated to Surya. The presiding deities of the temple are Surya and his consorts Usha and Pratyusha.

Suryanar Kovil was built by the Chola king Kulottunga Choladeva during the 11th century. It is a temple that is part of the sacred Navagraha temple circuit of Tamil Nadu. Suryanar Kovil is one of the very few live and ancient Surya Temples in India, where worship of the deity continues to this day.

Suryanar Kovil is a glowing example of the exquisite Dravidian Temple architecture. Though the temple was built during the Chola period, it was further expanded and embellished during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire. The highlight of the temple structure is a magnificent 5-storeyed Gopuram and the granite walls that surround the temple precincts.

Balaji Sun Temple, Madhya Pradesh

Unnao Balaji Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India
Unnao Balaji Sun Temple –  One of the Sun Temples of India

The state of Madhya Pradesh is a treasure house of heritage, and also home to some ancient and revered temples. It is also home to a unique sun temple of India, known as Balaji Dham. The temple is located about 15 kilometres from Datia and about 90 kilometres from the city of Gwalior.

The Balaji Sun temple is a very ancient temple and has a sacred pond in its vicinity. The waters of this pond or Kund are believed to have miraculous curative powers that can cure skin diseases including leprosy.

Ranakpur Sun Temple, Rajasthan

Ranakpur Sun Temple - Sun Temples Of India
Ranakpur Sun Temple –  One of the Sun Temples of India

Rajasthan, the state of majestic forts and palaces also has an ancient sun temple in its midst. Ranakpur, at a distance of about 94 kilometres from Udaipur, is famous for its magnificent Jain temple. However right outside the campus of the Ranakpur Jain Temple is located the Ranakpur Sun Temple.

The Ranakpur Sun Temple, known as the Shri Suryanarayan Mandir Ranakpur is managed by the Eklingji Trust. The temple is about 600 years old, while the idol of the Sun God that is installed in the Sanctorum is said to be more than 1000 years old. The temple is built in the classic Nagara style of architecture. The outer walls of the temple are inlaid with beautiful carvings including the motifs and iconography of the Sun.

These are some of the better known and famous sun temples in India, however, the list of Sun Temples in India would be much longer and would consist of at least more than 20 temples.

Sun Temples of India FAQ

Suryanar Kovil, Thirumangalakudi
Suryanar Kovil, Thirumangalakudi

How many sun temples are there in India?

There must be at least about 20 sun temples in India.

What is special about Sun Temples?

Sun temples are dedicated to Surya or the Sun God as the primary deity. Sun worship dates back to the neolithic age and is probably one of the earliest God’s worshipped by Man.

Why is there no worship in Sun Temples?

Most of the famous sun temples of India are in ruins and the deity is missing from the sanctum, hence there is no worship in these temples. However, for example, in Suryarar Kovil, there is proper ritualistic worship.

How many Sun temples are there in the world?

Sun worship has been a part of many world cultures since time immemorial. Hence there are many sun temples not only in India but also in other countries f the world.

Which is the most famous sun temple in India?

The Konark Sun Temple is definitely the most famous of all the sun temples in India.

We hope you liked reading about the famous sun temples of India. Do revert back to us if you have any additional inputs about sun temples in India. For more interesting content, subscribe to our blog and follow us on our social media channels.

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Sun Temples Of India

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14 thoughts on “7 Incredible Sun Temples of India | Surya Mandir”

  1. Shreemayee Chattoppadhyay

    Really!! I had no idea that there are so many Sun temples in India. I only knew of Konark Sun temple. I visited that temple and would like its architecture as well. Would like to explore others as well.

  2. I have visited Konark sun temple and would like to explore others as well. The architecture of these temples is truly breathtaking. You shared it beautifully.

  3. This is such an incredible list! I have been to only two, the Konark sun temple and the Modhera sun temple. India is so rich in heritage and architecture. I want to visit them all.

  4. Bedabrata Chakraborty

    I take a lot of happiness in going through your list and realizing that I have covered about four of these temples. The remaining temples are of course still on my to do list. Son God as a deity has lost significance in modern times. Except for Chhat Puja in Bihar I am not aware of any other festival dedicated to the Sun God. I love the majestic iconography of the Sun God. Wonder how a modern artist would represent the Sun God?

  5. I’ve seen the beautiful Konark Sun Temple but missed visiting the Martand Sun Temple on my recent Kashmir visit. Modhera is next on the list. Absolute beauty it is!

  6. I feel extremely proud that we have so many beautiful temples in India but sadly unaware of many facts about it. I really love the way you are sharing such informative articles.

  7. I remember visiting modhera sun temple during one of my school picnics. And apart from that, only sun temple I have seen is Ranakpur Sun Temple. Remaining 5 are yet to be planned. Your post will help me in adding them in the itinerary of my future trips.

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