Surya Temple or Surya Mandir as is locally known, is situated on the Eastern hill range of Jaipur, popularly called Galta ji ki Pahadi meaning Galta hills. Surya Mandir is located en-route the Galta Temple.
What makes this entire area special is the fact that there are many small temples located on the way to the Galtaji temple. Some of them are quite famous 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 hill top.
You are bound to encounter monkeys on your way up 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 Sun Temple -The route to the temple bifurcate 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 the Galta Gate (located on Jaipur-Delhi road)
The temple premise is constructed in an old style having a huge wooden entrance gate locally called pol, which you often see in the havelis located in the walled part of Jaipur city.
History of Sun Temple or Surya Mandir!
The Sun Temple was built by Diwan Rao Kripa Ram in 1734 AD under the guidance of Maharajah Sawai jai Singh II. As per information available, Rao Kripa Ram was a minister in the 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 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 East side 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 as to 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 therefore 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 public as well. This explains the importance of 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 a 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 Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II – the founder of Jaipur city.
The temple faces north direction while the entry into the temple is from the East side. The temple opens to the public around Sunrise and closes soon after the Sunset.The ancestry of the current priest has been serving this temple for many centuries.
Sun Temple Timing
Surya Mandir or Sun temple must be visited in the early morning hours or just before sunset in the winter season. Although the temple doesn’t boast of any striking feature, or uniqueness, still it’s a great vantage point. You can also club it up with a visit to Galta ji temple or Monkey Temple, if the weather permits.
The only sour point while visiting the Sun Temple is the filth one has to encounter from the Galta gate side. You can avoid all this if you take an alternative route through the Agra road via Sisodia Rani Bagh .
How to reach Galtaji and Sun Temple in Jaipur
By the way, there is another Sun temple in Jaipur. It predates this one and is situated in Amber town.