Step-well – Rani ki Vav 0 1245

You are standing in front of the World’s famous UNESCO World Heritage from the 11th It was added to the list of world heritage on 22 June 2014. Rani ki Vav as it is locally known as is a Step-well one of the majestic subterranean architecture known world-wide.

You can climb down till the baracade to enjoy the motifs and ornate walls and sit on one of the steps to enjoy the cool. The construction of this Step-Well was commissioned by Queen Udayamati of the Chaulukya dynasty in the memory of her husband, a King named Bhimdev.

There was a river ‘Saraswati’ which is believed to run underground today on whose bank this Step Well is built. Surprisingly, due to geotectonic changes, the river flooded and disappeared and this step-well remained buried under layers of silt for nearly seven centuries.

The Step Well is built in Maru-Gurjara temple architectural style that literally means ‘art of Rajasthan and Gujarat’.

10 incarnations of Vishnu as avatars or descents; Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parsurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki form the central attraction here. As you walk down you will found all of them and the beautiful motifs 

Interesting Facts in points:

  • The seven-storey structure is intricately ornamented with panels of sculptures which you can see as you climb down the stairs. The main attraction is the 10 incarnations of Vishnu sculpted.
  • It will be surprising to know that this magnificent structure of seven storey was underground until it was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1960s.
  • In 2014, UNESCO acknowledged Rani ki Vav as an example of excellent ancient water management system and it was inducted into the World Heritage site’s list.
  • The life size portrait of Sheshashayi-Vishnu and celestial maidens carved on stones are carved in such way that each panel is well scaled and proportioned by the excellent artisans with amazing craftsmanship.
  • The east facing step-well has an ornate flight of stairs take you to the steep 30 m deep well which is the main purpose why this Step Well is constructed.
  • There are more than 500 principle sculptures from works of literary geniuses like mythological tales and much imagery from religious as well as spiritual scriptures.

 

Architecture:

Built in the Maru-Gurjara style, this seven storey structure was underground until it was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1960s. The seven-story structure is intricately ornamented with panels of sculptures which you can see as you climb down the stairs. 

 

History: Rani ki vav was built to commemorate the death of king Bhimdev – I by his wife and queen Rani Udaymati in the 11th-century AD. This is the reason it is called Queen’s Step-Well.

 Mythology/story: It is called an ode (a poetry) in stone. In one of the old scriptures in Jainism, this step-well has been mentioned.

Key points of interest at the place: The structure was found hidden in the silt deposited by the then river Saraswati in Patan. It was only 1960s this Step Well was unearthed by the Archaeological Survey of India. These are believed to be the grandest footsteps in the state of Gujarat. This monument bagged the title of “Cleanest Iconic Place” of India in 2016. It is most preferred place for pre-wedding shoot

What’s around? Patan Museum, Sahastralinga Talav

 Things to do: You are free to take pictures and do videography only after buying the tickets from the administration.

Restaurants: Kalapi restaurant, Virkrupa Famous Pakoda Center, Tulsi restaurant and famous milk-sweet pedha shop.

Local finds –Patola Saree making unit 

Pro Tip – The Step Well is a protected national monument by the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites Act of 1958 and administrated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons - Santanu Sen
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