This January, get ready to experience the beautiful Modhera dance festival in Gujarat. Read on to know more about the festivities surrounding this occasion…
The Modhera dance festival takes place during the 3rd week in January for three days, just after the Uttarayan celebrations for the new season every year. It is held in Modhera, which is atleast 100 km northwest of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. This dance festival is organized by the Government of Gujarat Tourism.
The Modhera Sun temple comes alive during the dance festival or Uttarardh Mahotsav, as it is called. Uttarardh Mahotsav gets its name from the Sun’s planetary, as well as astronomic configuration. Modhera temple is consecrated to the Sun God and to worship the Earth’s cycle around the sun. Uttarayan is the day the sun begins its northward journey (uttara means north). It symbolises the end of winter. During Uttarayan, the sun transits from Sagittarius (Dhanu) into Capricorn (Makara).
The Modhera temple was constructed around 1026-27 AD, during the reign of King Bhimdev I of Patan. This stunning specimen is dedicated to Lord Surya or the Sun God and is believed to be a marvellous artistry of Gujarat’s architect.
Different dance styles and forms are presented during the festival by dance troupes and performers, bringing together the cultural ethos of several other regions. The performers blend in the ambience and bring life to the sandstone figurines carved on the edifice of the temple, narrating and singing legends of times bygone. The festival also puts the spotlight on several leading exponents from the whole country.
The main highlight of the Modhera dance festival is the typical Garba performance that depicts the glorious culture of Gujarat. Colourful costumes and catchy music make the performance worth watching. Many other dance forms such as Kuchipudi, Bharat Natyam, Kathak and other classical dance forms are performed. Psychedelic hues of red, yellow, green lights illuminate the nooks and corners of the intricately-carved sandstone sculptures.
What is interesting is that the Sun Temple at Modhera is positioned in such a manner that the sun’s first rays illuminate the deity in the innermost sanctum through the main entrance. Tourists call it the centre of energy, colour, lights and culture.
If you are a connoisseur of art, music and dance, you need to witness the Modhera dance festival to get a real ethereal experience!