Magnificently sculptured temples are
one of the major attractions of this never-never land
that is nevertheless one of the major industrial states
of the country. Dwarka, Rukmini Temple, Dwarakadhisha
Temple, Somanath Temple are some of the temples that
are most revered ones.
The temples built in western India between Muhammad
Ghana's expedition to Somnath in Kathiawar in 1025-26
A.D., and the conquest of this part of the country by
the Sultans of Delhi in 1298 A.D., represent one of
the richest and most prolific developments of the Indo-Aryan
style of architecture. The havoc and destruction caused
by Muhammad Ghazni's raid, however, did not last long,
for the Solanki rulers were a stable and powerful dynasty
who lost no time or energy in repairing the damage.
Contrary to what one might expect Ghazni's campaign
of desecration seems to have given an added impetus
to temple building in the peaceful period that followed.
The great prosperity of the Solanki rulers was due largely
to the geographical position of Gujarat which was then
the focus of commerce. This was another factor which
shaped the religious architecture of this region, for
there is about it a lavishness which speaks of both
material and emotional wealth.
At the end of the thirteenth century, however, a number
of these temples were despoiled by the Muslim conquerors
who dismembered them to provide material for their mosques.
To complete the damage, a devastating earthquake with
its epicenter in Kathiawar occurred at the beginning
of the 19th century, so that a large number of temples
were reduced to crumbling ruins and shapeless masses
of masonry. The architectural plan of the typical Solanki
temple consists of three horizontal sections, the peetha
or basement, the rnandovara or wall- face up to the
cornice, and the shikhara or spire. The pillar is carved
with motifs which are arranged in an order fixed by
convention. The garaspati or horned rakshasas are the
lowest; then come the gajapatis or elephant fronts,
followed by ashva-thara or horses, and narathara or
human forms. The mandovara is reserved exclusively for
figure sculpture. The shikhara is distinctive, for it
consists of a group of turrets or urusringas surrounding
a larger central structure. The interiors of these temples
are markedly peristylar, and richly carved pillars are
arranged so as to form halls and aisles. The inner walls
of the halls, unlike those in the Orissan temples, are
profusely carved. About fifteen miles from Patan, the
ancient capital of the Solankis in Gujarat, are four
small temples at Sunak, Karyoda, Delmal and Kesara,
all built in the 10th century and therefore the earliest
examples of the Solanki style.
The Surya temple at Modhera, now in ruins, was built
in the same style a century later, when it had found
its supreme expression. The architectural plan resolves
itself into a suttamandapa or Pillared hall, connected
by a narrow passage to the gudh-mandapa or assembly
hall and the garbhagriha, both forming an enclosed rectangular
building. The Modhera temple is famous for its fine
display of proportions and the atmosphere of spiritual
grace which it conveys. In the 11th century, similar
temples were built in Rajasthan and Kathiawar also.
At this time, Rajputana, like Gujarat, was the traditional
home of merchant princes who spent fabulous sums to
commemorate their religious faiths. Vimala Shah, the
Minister of the first Solanki ruler, Bhirnadeva I of
Gujarat, built the first Jain temple at Dilwara.