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 celebrations 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 the 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 the 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 ambiance 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 the living heritage of Indian dance and music while traversing back in time sitting in the lap of golden history.
The exclusive three day Modhera Dance Festival is held every year during the third week end of January after the conclusion of Uttarayan festival.
The environs of the Sun Temple in Modhera act a venue and host of this enchanting festival. Modhera is located in the South-west of Mehsana District and is 25 km away from the town of Mehsana.
This incredible festival of dance, Uttarardh Mahotsav, derives its name from the planetary and astronomical configuration of the Sun. The festival which takes place every year after Uttarayan, at the Modhera temple dedicated to the Sun God venerates the rotational cycle of the earth around the Sun. Uttarayan, the day when the sun starts his voyage towards Uttar or North indicates the end of winter and the beginning of longer days with a pleasant breeze. During Uttarayan, the Sun transmigrates from one planet to the other, it travels from Dhanu or Sagittarius to Makara that is Capricorn. Halfway through this voyage, the time when ‘ardh’ or half of ‘uttar’ or Northward journey is over, the period is known as Uttararadh.
The noteworthy technological splendor of the Modhera temple architecture is the planned engineering based on the planetary position of the planets and the Sun. The main temple or the sanctum is designed focusing on the rays of rising and setting Sun during Equinox. The way the edifice is structured, it ensured on the days of Equinox, that soft, linear rays of Sun showered it with illumination.
Dance or nritya in India is considered an artistic yoga revealing the spiritual through the corporeal. In the history of India, classical dance forms and temple architecture have enjoyed a very amiable alliance. Innumerable literary and historical evidence state the close association of the expressional form of dance and sacred vicinity of temples. Dance performances presented in the holy premises venerated god while also serving as a platform to convey messages to all social strata on an equal echelon. ‘Nagar Utsav’ was organized in the vicinity of all temples including the sun temples. In respect of the rich cultural legacy of the country and to revive the tradition, the State Government created the annual event of the Modhera Dance Festival.
Mehsana, Becharaji temple, Unjha, Patan, Sidhpur
19th January to 21st January 2018
Disclaimer: You are requested to check the exact dates with the Gujarat Tourism office before finalizing your travel plans for this festival.
The dance festival is frequently visited by art and dance connoisseurs from all across the world. Classical and folk dancers and musicians from different states of the country exhibit their talent and flair while culture enthusiasts become part of the festival to witness this splendid event. Inhabitants and natives from near by villages also are an indigenous part of the occasion.
Navratri, meaning 'nine nights', is one of the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festivals in many parts of India. Gujarat, however, is the only state that erupts into a nine-night dance festival, perhaps the longest in the world. Each night, all over the state, villages and cities alike, people gather in open spaces to celebrate feminine divinity, referred to as Shakti.