Rani ki vav
Patan was called as Anhilpur Patan when King Siddharja Jaysingh was ruling & it was the capital of Gujarat. Mr. Vanraja Chavda has founded Patan. During the period of the Solanki or Chalukya, the stepwell called the Rani ki vav, or Ran-ki vav (Queen’s step well) was constructed. It is a richly sculptured monument.
It is generally assumed that it was built in the memory of Bhimdev I (AD 1022 to 1063) son of Mularaja, the founder of the Solanki dynasty of Anahilwada Pattan in about 1050 AD by his widowed queen Udayamati.
This magnificent east facing step well measures approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep. A stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals with pillared multi-storeyed pavilions is a unique feature. It was one of the largest and the most sumptuous structures of its type. It became silted up and much of it is not visible now, except for some rows of sculptured panels in the circular part of the well. Among its ruins one pillar still stands which is the proof not only of the elegance of its design, but also excellent example of this period. A part only of the west well is extant from which it appears that the wall had been built of brick and faced with stone. From this wall project vertical bracket in pairs, this supported the different galleries of the well shaft proper. This bracketing is arranged in tiers and is richly carved. The minute and exquisite carving of this vav is one of the finest specimens of its kind. Befitting its name, the Rani-Ki-Vav is now considered to be the queen among step wells of India.
There is also a small Gate below the last step of the step well which has a 30 kilometre tunnel built (Now it has been blocked by stones and mud) which leads to the town of Sidhpur near Patan. It was used as an escape gateway for king who built the step well in the times of defeat.
Ornate side walls
Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Nagkanya, Yogini beautiful women - Apsara showcasing 16 different styles of make-up to look more attractive called Solah-shringar
Around 50–60 years back there used to be ayurvedic plants around this areas which causes the water accumulated in Rani ni vav helpful for viral disease, fever etc.
Rani (Queen) Udayamati commissioned this vav or stepwell, in 1063 in the memory of her husband King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty. The vav was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati river and silted over until the late 1980s, when it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India, with the carvings found in pristine condition. Rani Ki Vav is amongst the finest stepwells in India, and one of the most famous legacies of the ancient capital city.
The vavs of Gujarat are not merely sites for collecting water and socialising, but also simultaneously hold great spiritual significance. They were originally constructed quite simply, but became more intricate over the years, perhaps to make explicit this ancient concept of the sanctity of water by carving it out in stone deities. You may thus enter Rani Ki Vav as if it is a subterranean temple.
The steps begin at ground level, leading you down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries. The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers), 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.
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