Sun Temple of Jaipur is situated on the Eastern hill range of the city, popularly called Galta hills. It is also called Surya Mandir by the locals. It is located en-route Jaipur Monkey Temple or Galtaji Temple and is one of the important heritage temples of Jaipur. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was instrumental in the building of Surya Temple in Jaipur.
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 and you will find many people feeding the cows and monkeys which indirectly becomes the reason for all the filth and litter on this route. Feeding animals is a part of the Hindu ritual to earn good Karma.
You will find monkeys on your way to the Sun Temple. Rhesus Macaque species rule these hills.
The Rhesus Macaque monkeys are the most aggressive species found in this part of India. They have a reputation for attacking humans if carrying eatables! It is not their fault because they are used to being fed by the devotees. They assume eatables are meant for them! It is best to stash away all food items inside your bag, 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 the 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 Chand = 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 Jaipur royalty considers themselves descendants of Lord Ram through his son – Kush. As Lord Ram was a descendant of Surya or Sun his lineage was called Suryavanshi.
Before Indian independence, as a ritual, a procession from the Sun temple would pass through the city on a specified date. The custom still continues but it has lost its charm and glory. 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.
Old photo of the procession passing through Jaipur from Sun Temple
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 for devotees is from the east side. The Sun Temple is open for devotees from Sunrise to Sunset. The Sun Temple is being managed by the priest family ever since it was built.
Jaipur Sun Temple Timing
The Jaipur 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 the 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.