Sun Temple, Madkhera Village, Tikamgarh District, Madhya Pradesh

The Sun Temple located in the sleepy village of Madkhera in Tikamgarh district is a beautiful example of 9th century temple architecture. Built by the Gurjara-Pratiharas in the typical Nagara style of architecture, this marvellous structure has some of the most exquisite carvings of its time.

 

This east-facing temple is built on a high platform and has a mukha mandapa with two ornate pillars and two pilasters, an antarala and a garbha griha. The external facades are profusely decorated and the sukanasi and shikhara are richly embellished.

 

Intricately detailed miniature niches with repetitive elements are seen in the lower portion of the external facades. Stunning sculptures of Lord Ganesha, Surasundaris, Lord Kartikeya and Parvati Devi adorn these miniature niches.

 

The middle portion of the walls is dotted with niches housing the Sapta Matrikas, Durga Devi, Dasha Avatara, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Sheetala, Lakshmi Devi and others. Celestial figures, horizontal bands, animals like lion and elephant and floral and foliage patterns adorn the smaller linear niches on the sides of the prominent middle niches of this pancharatha temple. Bhagawan Surya and Ashtadikpalakas are seen in all their glory on the three carved walls.

 

The entrance doorway has Ganga and Yamuna flanked by their attendants on the lower portion. Foliage design, auspicious Hindu iconography and stories from the scriptures are seen on either side of the doorway.

 

The Lalata Bimba has Lord Surya seated on a chariot in the middle with the Navagrahas, Sapta Matrikas, Lord Ganesha and Lord Veerabhadra. Lord Shiva and Parvati Devi sitting on their respective vahanas accompanied by their ganas and sages are seen on the upper tier of the doorway.

 

The sanctum sanctorum has a majestic Sapta Ashwarooda Bhagawan Surya standing over a lotus pedestal along with the celestial Vidyadharas, attendants Danda and Pingala and consorts Usha and Pratyusha.

 

A fair number of broken sculptures are found in the front courtyard. There is an ancient well close to the temple that is always full of water. Every inch of this temple reveals the mastery of the artisans. This rare Sun Temple has remained largely in obscurity.

 

Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

 

* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)

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