Sun Temple or Surya Mandir as is locally known is situated on the Eastern hill range of Jaipur, popularly called Galta hills. Surya Mandir is located en-route Jaipur Monkey Temple or Galtaji Temple.
What makes this entire area special is that there are many small temples on way to the Galtaji temple. Some of these are popular like Surya Mandir and Galta temples.
Hindu devotees visit this area in large numbers. You will come across many people feeding the cows and monkeys (it is a part of a Hindu ritual to earn good Karma) which indirectly becomes the reason for all the filth and litter on this route-at least till you reach the hilltop.
You are bound to meet monkeys on your way to the Sun Temple.
The monkeys are quite aggressive & sometimes do attack people if they are carrying eatables! Not their fault!! They are so used to being fed by the devotees and people.
Stash away all food items safely inside your bag – away from their eyes and you’ll be safe and good!
How to reach Jaipur Sun Temple
The route to the temple bifurcates at the hill-top. One part of the path descends towards Galta Temples, while the other one leading to the Sun temple takes a right turn.
From this junction, it only takes another minute or so to reach the Sun temple. In all, it takes around 10-20 minutes to reach the Sun temple from Galta Gate.
The temple premise is constructed in an old-style having a huge wooden door locally called pol, which you often see in the Havelis in the walled part of Jaipur city.
History of Sun Temple in Jaipur
The Sun Temple was built by Diwan Rao Kripa Ram in 1734 AD under the guidance of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. As per information available, Rao Kripa Ram was a minister in Jaipur court.
Jaipur city was laid out as per the Sthapatya Veda (old Indian architectural science) because of which the temples were placed at all strategic points. Sun temple is situated on the Eastern side of the East-West axis of the old Jaipur city. The road which originates in front of the Sun temple used to be the most important arterial road connecting the East gate with West gate of the city (the walled city or old Jaipur). Suraj Pol was on the Eastside and Chand Pol on the west side. Suraj = Sun and Chaand = Moon. Each gate finds its name on the basis of astronomy. It was logical to build the Sun temple on the Eastern hill range as the Sun rises from the East direction.
Read more about these gates or Pols of Jaipur: Old City Gates of Jaipur
One might be tempted to ask about why so much importance has been given to the Sun Temple? The answer lies in the ancestry of Jaipur Royalty. The rulers of Jaipur are believed to be from the lineage of Lord Ram through the descendants of his son – Kush. As Lord Ram was a descendant of Surya or Sun his lineage was called Suryavanshi.
Before Indian independence, a procession used to originate from the Sun temple on a specified date running through a pre-marked route in the city.
It was an important event attended by the King and drew huge crowds of the public as well. This explains the importance of the Surya temple for the Jaipur royalty. Even to this day, an effigy which was used in the procession is still placed prominently in the temple.
On closer inspection, one finds that this temple has a similar architectural style as the Kalki temple. Although on a scale, the Sun temple is much smaller. Both these temples were made under the order and guidance of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II – the founder of Jaipur city.
The temple faces north direction while the entry is on the east. It opens to the public around Sunrise and closes soon after the Sunset. The ancestors of the priest have been managing this temple for centuries.
Jaipur Sun Temple Timing
Sun Temple is open throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. It is best to visit Surya Mandir in the early morning or around sunset in the winter season. Although the temple doesn’t boast of any striking feature or uniqueness, it offers great views of Jaipur City. You can also club it up with a visit to Galta Ji temple or Jaipur Monkey Temple.
Sun Temple Sunset
Sunset at Sun Temple is one of the hidden charms of visiting this heritage temple of Jaipur. I have already written a full post on watching a sunset from the Sun Temple – Fascinating Sun Temple Sunset
How to reach Sun Temple & Galtaji Temple in Jaipur
The only sore point while visiting the Sun Temple is litter one has to encounter on way from Galta gate. You can avoid all this if you take an alternative route through the Agra road via Ghat Ki Guni and Sisodia Rani Bagh.
Click here to check out other Heritage Temples of Jaipur