Built in 1027 by Bhimdev I, this is one of the greatest monuments of the Solanki dynasty, whose rulers were believed to be descended from the sun. Like the better-known Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha, which it predates by 200 years, the Modhera temple was designed so that the dawn sun shone on the image of Surya during the equinox. Surya Kund, an extraordinary rectangular step-well inside the complex, contains more than 100 shrines, resembling a sunken art gallery.
The exterior of the temple is intricately carved with demons and deities, and the main hall and shrine are reached through a pillared pavilion. Inside, 52 sculpted pillars depict scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and a hall with 12 niches represents the different monthly manifestations of Surya (the sun god). Erotic sculpture panels complete the sensual decoration.
A small archaeological museum features stone panel sections and stone carvings of deities dating from the 8th to the 19th centuries.
Around 20 January the temple is the scene of a three-day classical-dance festival featuring dancers from all over India.