Rani Ki Vav, Patan
Constructed by the king of the Solanki Dynasty in Gujarat, Rani Ki Vav is a stone step-well that is known for its intricate carvings and architecture. The construction of the place dates back to the 11th century AD and is one of the largest step-wells in India.
Rani ka Vav or ‘Queen’s Stepwell’ is a unique step well located in the small town of Gujarat called Patan. Located on the banks of River Saraswati, it is not only a distinctive form of water resource and storage system but also represents a unique craftsmanship.
Believed to be the grandest step well in the state of Gujarat, Rani ka Vav was constructed during 1063 to 1068 AD by the widowed Queen Udaymati. Recently listed as a World heritage Site by UNESCO on 22nd June 2014, this subterranean step well epitomises the peak of Maru-Gujarat architectural style. The well, apart from working as the water storage system, is also known for its intricately carved sculptures that numbers around five hundred surpassing all other such architecture. Its size is so vast that a visitor appears to be a mere dot on the structure from far off. It’s a good example of manmade marvels of ancient India attracting visitors from all around the world collecting applauds.
Best time to visit Rani ki Vav
If you are planning to visit this architectural wonder of Gujarat, plan your trip between October and March when the weather is quite pleasant.
How to Reach Rani ki Vav
The best way to reach the Rani ka Vav is through taxi which is quite convenient. One can also visit by public buses.
History of Rani Ka Vav
It is believed that this grand structure was commissioned by the widowed queen Udaymati in the fond memory of her husband Bhimdev I (AD 1022 to 1063), son of Mularaja, the founder of the Solanki dynasty of Anahilwada Pattan. The construction started around 1050 AD and was probably completed by Udayamati and Karandev I after the death of her husband. One can find the reference of Udayamati building the monument in the ‘Prabandha Chintamani’ composed by Merunga Suri in 1304 AD. Later, the vav was flooded by River Saraswati located nearby and silted over until the 1980s. It was then that Archaeological Survey of India excavated it along with its carvings in pristine condition. Today, considered as a man-made marvel, Rani ka Vav is among the finest step wells in the legacies of the ancient capital city of Patan.
Significance of Rani ka Vav
The vavs of Gujarat, apart from being the site of collecting water and socialising, are also of great spiritual importance. The design of these wells, originally built simply, became more complex over the years to enhance the concept of the sanctity of water by crafting it out in stone deities. Rani Ki Vav is one such example that gives a feel of a subterranean temple on entering.
Architecture Rani Ka Vav
Rani ka Vav cited as one of the spectacular pieces of architecture, reflects the typical Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It exhibits intricate technique and admiring the beauty of details and proportion achieved. Originally built as a memorial in the 11th century, this step well apart from having sound water sourcing and structural stability, is also a piece of true artistic mastery.
The well is separated into seven level of stairs adorned with sculptural panels of high artistic quality along with more than five hundred principal sculptures and over a thousand other religious and mythological figures, often referencing literary works. Oriented in the east-west direction, the fourth level, which is the deepest leads to a rectangular tank (9.5Â m by 9.4Â m) at a depth of 23Â m. The well also holds religious significance and thus is designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water.
Facts about Rani Ka Vav
It is understood that some fifty to sixty years ago, there used to be Ayurvedic plants nearby the Rani ka Vav that gave the waters of this ancient step well some medicinal properties.