Dakshinaarka temple in Gaya is an ancient shrine to the Sun God. Gaya has been an ancient
pilgrimage center since time immemorial. The other well known temples in Gaya are the Vishnupaada Temple, the Mangalagowri Temple
and the Prapitaamaheshwara Temple.
The ritual of offering
pindas or offerings to the dead has been long associated with Gaya and has been
mentioned in the epics. (Vaayupuraana). The Sun temple is an ancient
structure in Gaya Offerings to the ancestors are made at the Surya Kunda or the Dakshina
Maanas tank in front of the temple.
Origin of Sun worship:
Sun worship apparently was very popular in the Magadha region which included Gaya.
Numerous old images of the Sun God Aditya are found in the Gaya region and there are still
quite a number of sun worshippers in Gaya. It is said that they may have descended from
the fire worshippers of Central Asia.
In fact, the granite image of Aditya
(this particular image here is also referred to as Dakshinaarka) or the Sun God worshipped
here is portrayed as wearing a jacket, a waist girdle and high boots in the Iranian
tradition. Hundreds of people visit this temple on Sundays.
worship in the Magadha region has been mentioned in the Puranas and thus this temple is
said to be of very ancient origin. The current structure dates back to the 13th
century, where the South Indian emperor Prataparudra of Warangal is said
to have built it.
temple faces east and it stands close to the Vishnupaada temple. To the east of the temple
is the tank Surya Kunda. The temple is a simple and plain one, with a dome over it. The
comparatively larger sabha mandapa stands in front of the sanctum. Massive pillars line
the mandapa where there are graceful stone sculptures of Shiva, Bhramaa, Vishnu, Surya and
Other related temples:
There are two other notable Sun temples at Gaya, namely the Uttaraka temple near the
Uttara Maanas tank and the Gayaditya temple on the river Falgu.