Sun Temples

Surya temples are found in many parts of India. More common than Surya temples are artwork related to Surya, which are found in all types of temples of various traditions within Hinduism, such as the Hindu temples related to Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha and Shakti. Reliefs on temple walls, forts and artwork above doorways of many Hindu monasteries feature Surya.

Many of the temples that contain Surya icons and artwork are dated to the second half of the 1st millennium CE and early centuries of the 2nd millennium. The 11th-century Vaishnava temple at Kadwaha in Madhya Pradesh, for example, features a Surya artwork along with many other gods and goddesses at its doorway. The 8th and 9th century goddess (Shaktism) temples of central India, similarly engrave Surya along with other Hindu gods within the temple.The six century Shiva temple at Gangadhar in Rajasthan includes Surya. Similar mentions are found in stone inscriptions found near Hindu temples, such as the 5th century Mandasor inscription. These temples, states Michael Meister, do not glorify one god or goddess over the other, but present them independently and with equal emphasis in a complex iconography.

Cave temples of India, similarly, dedicated to different gods and goddesses feature Surya. For example, the 6th century carvings in the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra as well as the 8th and 9th century artworks there, such as Cave 25, the Kailasha Temple (Cave 16) and others feature complete iconography of Surya.

Hindu temples predominantly have their primary entrance facing east, and their square principle based architecture is reverentially aligned the direction of the rising Surya. This alignment towards the sunrise is also found in most Buddhist and Jaina temples in and outside of India

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