Top Ten Sun Temples

Top Ten Sun Temples

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  1. Konark Sun Temple, India
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           Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Orissa. It was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1238-1250 AD) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is an example of Orissan architecture of Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is one of the Seven Wonders of India. Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honor he built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple.
    Links: Top Ten Indian Attractions, Top Ten Indian Temples, Top Ten Hindu Deities, Top 100 Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Relieves, Top Ten Asian Relieves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konark_Sun_Temple,
  2. Baaelbeck Temple, Lebanon
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    Baalbek is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 1,170 m (3,840 ft), situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It is Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, and it can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world, containing some of the largest and best preserved Roman ruins. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshiped here, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Baalbek is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut, and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 72,000.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbek,
  3. Multan Sun Temple

    Sun Temple of Multan also known as Aditya Sun Temple was an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Surya also called Aditya, which was located in city of Multan, in modern Punjab, Pakistan. The original Sun Temple at Multan is said to have been built by Samba, son of Krishna, to get relief from disease of leprosy. This Sun Temple has been mentioned also by Greek Admiral Skylax, who passed through this area in 515 BC. Multan, earlier known as Kashyapapura, and its temple are also mentioned by Herodotus. Hsuen Tsang is said to have visited this temple in 641 AD and had described the deity made of pure gold with eyes of large red rubies. Gold, silver and gems were abundantly used in its doors, pillars and shikhara. Thousands of Hindus regularly went to Multan to worship Sun God. He is also said to have seen several dancing girls (devadasis) in the temple. He further mentions the deities of Shiva and Buddha were also installed in the temple. After the conquest of Multan by Umayyad Caliphate in 8th Century AD, under Muhammad bin Qasim, the Sun Temple became a source of great income for the Muslim invaders. Muhammad bin Qasim ‘made captive of the custodians of the budd, numbering 6000’ and looted its wealth, sparing the idol – which was made of wood, covered with red leather and two red rubies for its eyes and wearing a gem-studded gold crown- ‘thinking it best to leave the idol where it was, but hanging a piece of cow’s flesh on its neck by way of mockery.’ Later, the temple was also used a bargaining chip to blackmail any Hindu kings heading towards Multan. Whenever an “infidel king” was about to invade, the Muslim ruler would threaten to destroy the idol, which apparently made the “infidel king” withdraw. In the late 10th century, the Ismailis who occupied Multan broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests. The temple is said to have been finally destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 AD. The city of Multan may get its name from the Sanskrit name Mulasthana named after location of this Sun Temple. The exact site of Sun Temple of Multan is, however, unknown and subject of debate for researchers.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Temple_of_Multan,
  4. Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat, India
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           The Sun Temple, Modhera, at Modhera in Gujarat, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. The Modhera sun temple is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati, 25 km from Mehsana and 102 km from Ahmedabad.
    Links: Top Ten Columns/Pillars, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Temple,_Modhera,
  5. The Vatican, Vatican City
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    Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population. Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports. In each case very few passports are issued. The Lateran Treaty in 1929, which brought the city-state into existence, spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Most of this territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final portion, namely the city of Rome with Lazio, ten years later, in 1870. Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope’s residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere. Previously, they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican. Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313. The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts, by which they are known.
    Links: Top Ten Vatican City Attractions, Top Ten Italian Attractions,
  6. Heliopolis

           Heliopolis, the “City of the Sun” or “Eye of the Sun,” was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, located to the north of the apex of the Nile Delta. Heliopolis has been occupied since the Predynastic Period, with extensive building campaigns during the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Today it is mostly destroyed; its temples and other buildings were used for the construction of medieval Cairo. Most information about the ancient city comes from textual sources. Beneath a maze of busy narrow streets of a middle and lower-class district, lie vast hidden remains of ancient Heliopolis about 15 to 20 m down. The site of Heliopolis has now been brought for the most part under cultivation and suburbanization, but some ancient city walls of crude brick can be seen in the fields, a few granite blocks bearing the name of Ramesses II remain, and the position of the great Temple of Re-Atum is marked by the Al-Masalla obelisk. The only surviving remnant of Heliopolis is the Temple of Re-Atum obelisk located in Al-Masalla of the Al-Matariyyah district. It was erected by Senusret I of the Twelfth dynasty, and still stands in its original position. The 68 ft (20.73 m) high red granite obelisk weighs 120 tons (240,000 lbs).
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Obelisks,
  7. Sun Temple of Nyserre, Abusir, Egypt

    The Fifth Dynasty was marked by an especially strong devotion to the sun cult, which was based at Heliopolis. The founder of this dynasty, Userkaf started the fashion of attaching sun temples with his mortuary temple and pyramid complexes at Abusir. This practice was followed by most of his Fifth Dynasty successors particularly Sahure and Nyuserre Ini. Only the solar temples of Userkaf and Nyuserre survive today, but Nyuserre’s temple contains a large catalogue of invaluable inscriptions and reliefs from this king’s reign. The city of Abu Gorab is located on the western bank of the Nile, in the pyramid fields of the north. It lies between Abusir and Giza.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_sun_temple,
  8. Palenque Sun Temple, Mexico
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    The Temple of the Cross is the largest and most significant pyramid within a complex of temples at the Maya ruins of Palenque in the state of Chiapas in Mexico. It is located in the south-east corner of the site and consists of three main structures, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Cross, and the Temple of the Foliated Cross. The temple is a step pyramid containing bas-relief carvings inside. The temple was constructed to commemorate the rise of Chan Bahlum II to the throne after the death of Pacal the Great. The bas-relief carvings reveal Chan Bahlum receiving the great gift from his predecessor. The cross motif found at the complex allude to the names given to the temples, but in reality the cross is a representation to the World Tree that can be found in the center of the world according to Mayan mythology.
    Links: Top Ten Mexican Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_the_Cross_Complex,
  9. Inti Kancha, Cuzco, Peru
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           Qurikancha, originally named Inti Kancha (Quechua inti sun) or Inti Wasi (Quechua for “sun house”), was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco. The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold, and its adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues. Spanish reports tell of its opulence that was “fabulous beyond belief.” When the Spanish required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of the leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Qurikancha. The Spanish colonists built the Church of Santo Domingo on the site, demolishing the temple and using its foundations for the cathedral. Construction took most of a century. This is one of numerous sites where the Spanish incorporated Inca stonework into the structure of a colonial building. Major earthquakes severely damaged the church, but the Inca stone walls, built out of huge, tightly-interlocking blocks of stone, still stand due to their sophisticated stone masonry. Nearby is an underground archaeological museum, which contains numerous interesting pieces, including mummies, textiles, and sacred idols from the site. The site now also includes the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo.
    Links:  Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, Top Ten Incan Gods,
  10. Martand in Jammu, India
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    Martand Sun Temple was dedicated to Surya (Sun) god and is now in ruins. The ruins of the temple are located near Anantnag in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Martand is another Sanskrit name for Hindu Sun-god. The Martand temple is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. It was built around 500 AD. This temple has the typical Aryan structure as was present in Aryan Kashmir. The Martand temple is situated at Kehribal, 9 km east-north-east of Anantnag and south of Mattan.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martand,
  11. Dakshinaarka Temple in Gaya and Deo Barunark, Bihar, India
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    Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar, India, and it is also the headquarters of Gaya District. Gaya is 100 km south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Situated on the banks of the Phalgu (or Niranjana, as mentioned in Ramayana), it is a place sanctified by the Hindu, the Buddhist and the Jain religions. According to legend it is believed that Brahmayoni hill is the location where Buddha taught the Fire Sutta.
    It is surrounded by small rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila and Brahmayoni) by three sides and the river flowing on the fourth (eastern) side. The city has a mix of natural surroundings, age old buildings and narrow bylanes.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaya,_Bihar,
  12. Balaji in Madhya Pradesh and Bhramanya Dev Temple Unao, India
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    The Balaji, a famous and rare sun temple of its own unique architecture, is situated in a very small town Unao of Datia district in Madhya Pradesh. The Balaji temple was built in the pre-historic time by the king of Datia. It is said that, a cow used to go to a particular place to get fed in the outskirts of Unao. The cow every day pours her milk at that particular place. The cow was belong to a person of caste “Kachhi”, the people of this caste generally used to grow vegetables. The owner of cow was not aware of this incident. Once a person of chamar caste saw that the cow is pouring her milk on the earth. The people of this cast have the occupation of assassinating cows. He immediately grabbed the opportunity and assassinated the cow. On the following night, The God Sun comes in the dreams of the king of Datia and told the king to dig him out from the location, where the cow used to pour her milk. Next morning, King called his boys and dug out the place and found a statue of GOD SUN. He built a temple in Unao and established the statue on a brick platform, and as said by the god sun, the owner of that cow has been assigned the Priest. Since then only people belonging to “Kachhi” caste can only sit at the brick platform and offer garlands, prasadas to the deity. While in India, only a person belonging to Brahmin caste can offer worship. The pilgrims and pandas (people belong to Brahmin caste) also take part in the worship of the deity but the main priest is said to be “Kachhi” caste people. The Sun Temple at Unao in Madhya Pradesh is unique in its architecture. The Sun God is the main deity of this temple. The Sun God stands on a brick platform covered with black plates. 21 triangles, representing the 21 phases of the Sun are engraved in the shrine. Here, special worship is offered on Sundays. Local belief is that worshippers find relief from skin ailments at this temple. The deity Balaji is very much famous for curing skin ailments. People from far distant places come and worship the deity. Below the temple, a river Pahooj is also flowing. There are some wells in the river, at the time of summer, people used to have bathe with the water in the wells. It is said that, if you have bathe in river and offer water to deity Balaji, all your incurable skin ailments will be cured within few days. Sunday is considered as the day of deity Balaji (Sun). All the inhabitants of Unao and the surrounding region has enormous faith in the deity and also have felt the power of it.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unao,_Balaji,
  13. Sun Temple at Sri Surya Pahar in Assam
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    Sri Surya Pahar, located about 12 km southeast of Goalpara town and about 136 km northwest of Guwahati, is a significant but relatively unknown archaeological site in Assam, India. The site is centered on the hills (Pahar) of Sri Surya where several rock-cut Shivalingas, votive stupas and the deities of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain pantheon are scattered in an area of about one km. The popular belief is that 99,999 Shiva Lingas were engraved here by Vyasa in order to build up a second Kashi (where there were 1,00000 Shiva Lingas) and once it was one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in the region. A few years ago, some archaeologists unearthed a few Shiva Lingas and a few houses at Sri Surya, findings which confirmed the long-held belief that a thriving civilization held sway around Sri Surya Pahar some centuries ago. The intricate and scientific designs of the houses with artfully designed bricks led some archaeologists even to believe that more unearthing the history of Sri Surya Pahar would change the understanding of the history of ancient Assam and India. Some scholars even referred to the accounts of famous Chinese traveler Huen Tsang to claim that it was Sri Surya Pahar and not Guwahati that was the ancient land of Pragjyotishpur or Pragjyotisha Kingdom, the capital of the Kingdom of Kumar Bhaskara Varman (600-650). Since Sri Surya Pahar is very close to the bank of Brahmaputra river, it might have been an important trade center or seat of administration in the past. Another important significance of Sri Surya Pahar is that it was once a confluence of three religions as evident from the innumerable sculptures and other relics belonging to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Surya_Pahar,
  14. Suryanaar Temple at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India

    Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets “Temple Town” and “City of temples.” Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is considered to be the oldest Shaiva (the sect of the god Shiva) shrine in the town, believed to be constructed by the Cholas in the 7th century. The Nageswaraswamy Temple has a separate shrine for the Sun god Surya who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Pilgrims from all parts of India take a holy dip once every 12 years during the Mahamaham festival in the Mahamaham tank. An estimated 2 million pilgrims participated in the festival during the 2004 event. Govinda Dikshitar constructed the 16 mandapams (shrines) and stone steps around this tank.
    Links:
  15. Surya Narayana Swamy Temple at Arasavalli in Andhra Pradesh, India
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    Arasavalli is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the sun god Surya, located near the Srikakulam town of Andhra Pradesh, India. The original name Harshavalli means abode of joy. The temple is believed to have been built in the 7th century AD by the Kalinga rulers Devendra Varma of Orissa. Arasavalli is home to an ancient temple to the Sun (Suryanarayana), which is said to have been built originally by the Kalinga rulers of Orissa around the 7th century AD. Arasavalli is located at Srikakulam near Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Also near Srikakulam are the Mukhalingam temples built in the Orissa temple idiom, and Sree Kurmam bearing a shrine to Vishnu depicting his Kurma avataram. Legend has it that Indra the king of Gods attempted to force his entry into the temple of Koteeshwara, Shiva and was thrown away by the gatekeeper Nandi. Repentful of his arrogance in attempting to force his entry, Indra enshrined Surya the Sun God in a temple and performed worship services, at Arasavalli. A black granite image of Surya about 5 ft in height bearing lotus buds (hence the name Padma Paani), flanked by his consorts Padma, Usha and Chhaaya, on a 7 horse driven chariot is the object of worship here. At the base of the image are the gate keepers Pingala and Danda and the saints Sanaka and Sananda. Surya’s charioteer Aruna (Anoora) is also depicted in the image. The Arasavalli teemple was built by the Eastern Kalinga Kings who ruled over the Kalinga region from the 4th through the 14th century AD. The present structure is largely a result of 18th-century renovations. An image of Indra is also enshrined in this temple.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arasavalli,
  16. Kashmir near Almora in Uttarakhand
  17. Bonus: Gateway of the Sun (Gate of Viracocha), Tiwanaku, Bolivia

    The so-called Gate of the Sun is a megalithic solid stone arch or gateway constructed by the ancient Tiwanaku culture of Bolivia over 1,500 years before the present. It is located near Lake Titicaca at about 3,825 m above sea level near La Paz, Bolivia. The object is approximately 9.8 ft. (3.0 m) tall and 13 ft. (4.0 m) wide, and is constructed from a single piece of stone. The weight is estimated to be 10 tons. When rediscovered by European explorers in the mid-19th century, the megalith was lying horizontally and had a large crack going through it. It currently stands in the same location where it was found, although it is believed that this is not its original location, which remains uncertain. The Gate of the Sun is a valuable monument to the history of art and ancient architecture. Some elements of Tiwanaku iconography spread throughout Peru and parts of Bolivia. Although there have been various modern interpretations of the mysterious inscriptions found on the object, the engravings that decorate the gate are believed to possess astronomical and/or astrological significance and may have served a calendrical purpose.
    Links: Top Ten Bolivian Attractions, Top Ten Gates,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_of_the_Sunhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiwanaku,
  18. Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and Om, Top Ten Sun Gods,