Sun Temples in India

Panaromic View of Modhera Sun Temple
Panaromic View of Modhera Sun Temple/Image Credit: Prayash Girla
Surya is one of the principal dieties in the Hinduism. He is one of the Navgrahas and is known by the name of Aaditya, Arka, Bhanu, Savitr, Surya Narayana, Pushan, Ravi, Martanda, Mitra and Vivasvan. In the Classical Age, Surya was revered all over the India, but now his following is restricted to the parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Odisha.

In modern Hinduism, his imagery is merged with Vishnu and in some cases either with Shiva or Ganesha. Some of the major festivals in reverence of Surya are Makar Sakranti, Pongal, Chhath Puja, Ratha Saptami and Kumbha.

Sun Temples in India

Arasavalli Sun Temple
Location: Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh
Arasavalli Sun Temple was built by a Kalinga Dynasty ruler Devendra Varma during the 7th century. It was renovated during 18th century by Dusi family.

Bhramanya Dev Temple
Location: Unao, Datia, Madhya Pradesh
Also known as the Baramju temple, the Bhramanya Dev Temple was patronized by the Peshwas and the ruler of Datia. It is known for its unique imagery i.e. 21 triangles representing the 21 phases of the sun are engraved in the shrine.

Biranchi Narayan Temple
Location: Buguda, Ganjam, Odisha
Biranchi Narayan Temple is the second well known Surya temple after famous Konark temple in Odisha. The construction of original temple is unknown, but it was renovated by King Srikara Bhanjadeva in 1790.

Biranchi Narayan Temple Palia
Location: Palia, Bhadrak, Odisha
There is another temple with the name of Biranchi Narayan Mandir in Palia village of Odisha. It is said to be build around 13th century and recently renovated with the help of 20th century.

Dakshinaarka Temple
Location: Gaya, Bihar
Gaya is one of the important sites in religious map of Hinduism and Buddhism. Dakshinaarka Temple is constructed during 13th century under a local king. It is famous for its Dakshina Maanas tank which said to have healing properties. There are two more notable Sun temples at Gaya, namely the Uttaraka temple near the Uttara Maanas tank and the Gayaditya temple on the river Falgu.

Deo Sun Temple
Location: Deo, Aurangabad, Bihar
Unlike other Sun temples, it is west facing temple. It is also known by the name of Devark Surya Temple and is built by a Chandravanshi King, Bhairavendra Singh, during 8th century.

Konark Sun Temple
Location: Konark, Puri District, Odisha
Konark Sun Temple is built by Narasingha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE. Also known as Surya Devalaya, it is one of the classic example of Kalinga Architecture. It was referred as the Black Pagoda by some European Traveller. Similar to Puri Temple, which was registered as the White Pagoda in travelouges of European travelers and writers. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is known for Chandrabhaga Mela in the month of February.

Katarmal Sun Temple
Location: Katarmal, Almora, Uttrakhand
Katarmal Sun Temple is an obscure sun temple constructed by Katyuri Kings in 9th century. This is a group of small temples, 44 exactly in number, with central temple dedicated to Surya, locally known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya.

Sun Temple, Modhera
Location: Modhera Village, Mehsana, Gujarat
The Modhera Sun Temple is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built during the reign of Bhima I of the Chaulukya dynasty during 1026-27 CE. As of now, it is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Martand Sun Temple
Location: Martand, Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
The Martand Sun Temple was built by the third Karkota Dynasty ruler Lalitaditya Muktapida during the 8th century CE. However, archaeological evidence suggests, the construction of temple was started as early as 4th century. It is now in ruins and said to be destroyed by the Sikandar Butshikan. Martand is another Sanskrit name of Surya.

Navlakha Temple
Location: Ghumli, Dwarka, Gujarat
Navlakha Temple at Ghumli was built by Jethwa rulers in 11th century. It is dedicated to Surya and is oldest sun temple in Gujarat. It was said to be built at the cost of Nine (Nav) Lakh, henceforth it is called Navlakha. It was destoyed by a local feudal king in order to humilate Jethwa rulers. However, it's rehabilitation work has been taken by Archaeological Survey of India.

Sooryanarayana Temple
Location: Maroli, Mangalore, Karnataka
Sooryanarayana Temple was built in 9th century by some unknown ascetics. Here Surya is thought to be the manifestation of Brahman.

Sri Surya Pahar
Location: Goalpara, Assam
Sri Surya Pahar is a significant but relatively unknown archaeological site in Assam. Here, the imagery of Surya is merged with the Shiva. It is popular belief in this region that Vyasa in order to build a second Kashi engraved 99999 shiva lingams here.

Sri Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
Location: Gollala Mamidada Village, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh
It is the second most important Sun Temple in Andhra Pradesh after Arasavalli Sun Temple. It was commissioned in 1920 by Kovvuri Basivi Reddy, the zamindar of Gollala Mamidada, near the Antharvahini river.

Suryanar Kovil
Location: Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
The presiding deity of Suryanar Temple is Suriyanar (the Sun) and his consorts Ushadevi and Pratyusha Devi. It also has eight separate shrines for other planetary deities. It is said to be built in the reign of Kulottunga Choladeva (AD 1060-1118) and was known as Kulottungachola-Marttandalaya. It is one of the Navgraha Temples of Tamil Nadu.

Lost Sun Temples 

Kalpriyanath Sun Temple
Location: Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh
Kalpriyanath Temple is a lost sun temple in a small town of Kalpi in Jalaun Distict of Uttar Pradesh. It is said to be associated with Sun and his daughter Yami (Yamuna River) on which banks, the town thrives.

Aditya Sun Temple
Location: Multan, Punjab, Pakistan

Aditya Sun Temple was an ancient sun temple located in Multan of Punjab Province of Pakistan. It was highly revered site among Hindus and drew pilgrims from all over the Indus region. The temple was destroyed in the late 10th century by Ismaili rulers.