Continuing my journey to discover India one state at a time, I visited Modhera- Patan- Somnath - Dwarka in Gujarat over a period of 3 days.
I am not a very religious person and what attracts me to old temples is the architecture and history. And these places were a revelation. I had seen pictures of Modhera and the step wells of Gujarat but nothing quite prepared me for the jaw dropping architecture and art of these places. Essentially these are just steps wells. But the carvings and the attention to detail that is here is mind boggling. One can easily spend an entire day just appreciating one panel of a step well. These step wells were constructed in the 10th century but are still intact.
Modhera sun temple was a revelation. Such symmetry with the steps of the 'kund', the majestic pillars, the open air theatre. The idol of Sun (broken by the Islamic invaders) had a diamod on the forehead. During the equinox (twice a year) the sun rays used to reflect on the diamond and the entire temple used to be lit up. This in the 10th century !!
Somnath - Veraval - a major centre where fishing boats are built on a very scenic coastline, with the Somnath temple siting majestically by the sea. A pole there mentions that from that point to the south pole, there is only sea and no obstruction of land. a temple which tells the heart wrecking tale of being was plundered again and again and again by Islamic invaders. Watching the sound and light show while the sun set in the background was an experience in itself. Made me realise that when places of worship/books and libraries were destroyed, entire history, culture and civilization of that period is lost.
Dwarka - A sight to behold. Not just for the loving way that Krishna is revered ( saw a very cute sight where the idol in the Dwarkadhish temple is shown the mirror after the alankaar is done - cuteness personified) but also the amazing sight of the river Gomti meeting the sea, the waves crashing on the shore and on the temples... the peaceful environs of the Gita temple where Krishna left His body.
This trip completes my exploration of Gujarat. Bhuj and Saurashtara - parts of one state but each so different.