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A timeless journey to the Stepwell

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Free-spirit,boho soul and attached to my Indian roots…That’s what people call me…

Wanderer me,took another trip to the Western part of India,vibrant Gujarat.This was my last visit to Ahmedabad(Amdavad what they call out of love) with parents and who says you can’t enjoy with parents.

After spending a day in the city and lots of shopping,We took a road trip to Modhera and Rani ki Vav from the colorful city of Ahmedabad. Thankfully,our driver was quite friendly and knowledgeable too.So we didn’t miss our guide.

Sometimes the journey teaches us a lot about our destination.Well-balanced diet,excellent selection of tunes and  navigation. And the beautiful road took us to archaeological gem of bygone era.

Well,coming to Rani ki Vav,it is to step wells what the Taj Mahal is to tombs and what Mehrangarh Fort is to fortresses.

 

 

This monument is different as this was constructed by a queen in the memory of her deceased husband as there are many monuments in India which were built by the mighty kings for their beloved wives.

In northwest India, where rainfall is scanty and water tables are deep on account of the regions sandy soil, the building of a stepwell was viewed as a meritorious act, and the wells themselves as places of worship. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent(especially in North-Central Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC.

 

 

Rani Ki Vav, or the Queen’s Stepwell, is located in Patan(famous for it’s Patola Sarees)town of Gujarat is said to be erected by Queen Udayamati, in the memory of Bhimadeva I, son of Mularaja, the founder of the Solanki dynasty of Patan, once known as Anhilwara, Anahillapura, Anahillavada, was the capital of the Solanki kingdom,
It is an astonishing example of Royal Stepwell and was constructed between 1022 and 1063 AD.
This site is a fine example of flamboyant Solanki structural design.

 

 

A timeless journey to the Stepwell:

Before visiting Rani Ki Vav, I use to believe that stepwells were made to store rainwater. But after visiting this site,
now I know that step wells were also built to make other kingdoms jealous from one’s might and power.

 

There is a small entry fee of Rs 30 and free parking outside the stepwell complex.
The local authorities have done a remarkable job to develop a lovely garden around the Vav.

 

 

So from entry gate, I walked like 50 odd steps, and this is my first view of Rani Ki Vav.Every step into Rani ki Vav had a story of a different time. As you keep going down on the triangular steps joining the big steps, it is then that the beauty of stepwell starts revealing itself step by step. The further you go, the more ornate and enchanting it becomes.

 

The first three levels which I climbed down are not as glamorous as the later ones, but the presence of these decorated columns here are also impressive.

Architecture:

It is 64 m in length and 20 m in width and 27 mt in depth.

When Rani ki Vav was originally built, it had seven stories. Among them, only five are preserved at present. The depth of this arresting stepwell is 27 meters and it is oriented towards the east west direction. It has a corridor with long steps that tumble down to the tank underground.The structure is designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water.

 

Rani ki Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in step well construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions.

Believe it or not :

Well, there are many written facts which suggest that Rani Ki Va is around 1000 year old, but I was surprised
to hear that this Vav was founded in 1980 while digging the archaeological sites near Saraswati River.
Since beautiful edifice was re-discovered in the 1980s after spending many years in the wilderness,the flamboyant carvings here are wonderfully preserved.

The Heritage site was awarded as the cleanest iconic place in India.This place is 31st Indian entrant to the World Heritage Sites list by UNESCO.This place includes many inimitable traits that have made it one of the most significant stepwells in the country.

Wow Factors :

This construction is embraced with four compartmental multi-storied pavilions that have circular pillars.
The interiors of the well, pillared pavilions and the corridor walls are embroidered with excellent sculptures.
Originally it had 292 pillars, out of which only 226 have survived.

 

 

In the past there were around 800 sculptures in Rani Ki Vav; however, only 400 of those sculptures survive today.
The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, such as Kalki, Rama, Vamana and Varahi including Buddha.

 


The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras, painting their lips and adorning themselves.

At water level you come to a carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, where it is said he rests in the infinity between ages.

I find a number of sculptures representing Brahma and his consort, Shiva in various forms, the prominent being Bhairava, guardian deities, Ganesha, Parvati and Mahisasurmardhini Durga.

 

Depiction of nagkanyas and apsaras in different moods and showcasing 16 different styles of make-up (solah-shringar) is something to look out for.

 

 

A naked serpent woman, along with three owls above, and a peacock behind her legs.

The depiction of snake spirits inside the stepwell is fitting, as snakes are regarded as primarily being water dwellers in Hindu mythology.

How to get there ?

Located around 125 km from Ahemdabad.It’s open for visitors from 8 a.m-6p.m

By Air: Ahemedabad is the nearest airport
By Train: Patan is the nearest railway station
By road: Patan is well-connected with major cities like Ahmedabad,Vadodara,Mehsana

 

Fact:

The Reserve Bank of India will soon issue a new Rs 100 note in lavender color having a motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’ on the reverse.

This is the first note designed and printed on currency paper made in India. Even the ink and security feature on the note is made by Indian Companies.

Isn’t it great ???

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They Call Me Nari

Hi! I am Anushree Dash… Freethinker,
1 Part Entrepreneur
2 Parts Blogger
3 Parts photographer
4 Parts explorer, Too many Parts. A free-spirited,non-conformist,independent,adventurous,boho soul and an admirer of life.Loves my Indian roots, Culture, Aesthetic Living, Saree, Poetry …

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