Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan- Rani Ka Vav - Patan

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Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan- Rani Ka Vav - Patan

Rani Ka Vav at Patan Gujrat
First Glimpse of Rani Ka Vav

          

Rani Ka Vav

         When as a child, I used to read history books, while listing the things done by kings, it typically  used to read " He got constructed lot of inns, roads and wells". Wells - what is so special about them, so that they are mentioning it in our history books, I used to think and continued thinking so, till I saw "Rani ka Vav".  

                            After starting from Dholavira early morning, we reached Patan at around 10.30. Ample parking, neat toilets and a very beautifully manicured lush green lawns with shady trees interspersed between them welcomed us. When we started walking towards a gaping hole in the earth, little did I know that my perception of a step well was going to be shattered. This gaping hole was a seven storied step well in the shape of an inverted temple built in Maru Gurjara architectural style. The sheer size of it startles you. Spread over 12 acres, this Vav is 64 meters long, 20 meters wide and 27 meters deep. But it is not only mammoth in size, rather is sumptuously beautiful too. This Vav is not only a  showcase of the epitome of  Gujrati stepwell architecture, but also seems to be designed to arrange a meeting of gods and men to quaff the elixir of life - WATER.

The Partially damaged floors of seven stories Rani ka Vav
The Partially damaged floors of seven stories Rani ka Vav

History

                 Most of the monuments in India are built by the Kings, however Rani ka Vav is one the few monuments built by a Queen, Rani Udaymati, who was daughter of Naravaraha Khangara. She built this in the memory of her husband Raja Bhimdeva I, who was son of Raja Mularaja, the founder of Solanki dynasty. The construction was started in the year 1063 and took 20 years to complete.

Lost and Found

                            The well was built on the banks of river Saraswati. When river changed its course, due to tectonic movements, and this well was rendered useless and slowly got covered with silt and became obscure. Till 1958, when ASI found this well, nobody knew that one of the most ornate and highly sculpted well existed underneath as its only two ends were visible. The villagers were drawing water from one visible end of the well and believing it as a magical water, which cured various disease. At that time little did they know what lay underneath and the healing properties were due to medicinal plants inside the well. In 1986 it was excavated and restored by ASI. In 2014 it was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Architecture

                               Stepwells have been an part of parcle of the arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. However ther evolution from a simple sand pit lined with stones to the multistory icons of art and architectural beauty is a remarkable journey. Rani ka vav is an ornamental beauty, where from every panel of the wall, the scupltures sing odes of its architecture.


Beautiful sculptures on the sidewalls of the Rani Ka Vav
Beautiful sculptures on the sidewalls of the Rani Ka Vav



A sidewall of Rani Ka Vav with sculptures
A sidewall of Rani Ka Vav lined with sculptures

            The Vavs are of four styles Jaya, Vijaya, Nandi, and Bhadra. This Vav has been made in Nandi style, the main feature  of this style is that it has single entrance and exit. The Vav has been designed as per Vaastu principals. The stepwell faces East and all the four components of a stepwell can be found here. First is the stepped corridor starting at ground level and goes down upto seven levels. Second is the Kund or reservoir for storage of water. There are beautifully decorated pavillions at each level. Third is the well for drawing the water, which is at the far end or the western end of the vav. The Fourth component is the Toran style Gateway at the entrance of the vav, which has been destroyed over a period of time.



Pillared Pavilions
Pillared Pavilions

            The most striking factor is the sheer beauty and number of sculptures built on the side walls. There are 500 large and nearly 1000 small sculptures. The presiding deity or the main deity is Vishnu. The basic theme is Dashavatars  or ten reincarnations of Lord Vishnu.


Lord Vishnu sleeping on Shesh Shayya in ksheer sagar
Lord Vishnu sleeping on Shesh Shayya in Ksheer Sagar
                   The sculpture of Lord Vishnu sleeping on Shesh Shayya (Bed of Shesh Nag) in Ksheer Sagar (Sea of milk) is scuplted in the farthest end of the well. ASI has restricted the entry to seventh floor, well, reservoir and even on pavillions beyond certain point, to prevent damage to structure. However this sculpture of Lord Vishnu is visible from all the floors symbolising the presence of Lord Vishnu in Aakash, Dharti and Paatal


Lord Vishnu sleeping on Shesh Shayya in ksheer sagar
A closer look at Lord Vishnu sleeping on Shesh Shayya in Ksheer Sagar at Rani Ka Vav - Patan



Mahishasur Mardini
Mahishasur Mardini 
               Goddess Durga in Mahisasur Mardini Avtar, Killing demon Mahishasur.


Varah Avtar
Varah Avtar

Bhairava
Bhairava
               Bhairava the Raudra roop of Lord Shiva (fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva) in a dancing pose is depicted with twenty arms.




Buddha
Buddha


Kalki Avatar
Kalki Avatar
                    Kalki Avtar Of Lord Vishnu, which it is said to be the tenth avtar of Vishnu and is yet to  happen. As per Garud Puran, this will appear at the end of Kalyug.

An empty recess
                   An empty column, the sculpture here was either damaged or have been plundered by art thiefs at the early stages.

Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh with their Consorts
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh with their Consorts
        On panel had Shiv Parvati, Vishnu Lakshmi and Brahma with his wife Saraswati.

Apsaras doing Solah Singar
Apsaras doing Solah Singar

              In One wall there are sculpted beautiful ladies or Apsaras. Someone is applying Kajal, other is braiding her hair, so on displaying the Solah Shingars ( Sixteen female adornements, that encompasses sixteen steps by a female for her beautification from head to toe ).


Geometrical patterns on side walls
Geometrical patterns on side walls, the same patterns are used in famous Patola Patan sarees
             Along with stairs, side walls do have beautiful geometrical patterns etched. The same patterns are prominently used in famous Patola Patan Sarees. Patola Patan sarees are made out of silk and involve a special technique in which waft and warp are dyed saperately using tie and dye technique and then woven on the loom. One saree takes nearly six months to complete and costs an upwards of Rs. 1,50,000.00. These sarees were once adorned by the Royalty. The weaving technique is a closely guarded secret on the three families, who make these sarees in Patan and is passed on from one generation to other.


                          There is also a 30 km long secret tunnel at the seventh sfloor, which takes you to the nearby town of Sidhpur.

Intricately carved Interiors of well
Intricately carved Interiors of well - pic source incredible India


                          Recently after demonetisation, the image of Rani ka Vav is on the lavendered coloured 100 rupee note.
   

Rani ka Vav with Ra. 100 note
No caption requied

Also found a beauitful post by a fellow blogger Maitri where in she explores and pens her experience about Rani ka Vav. You can read the post here

Uncover The Secrets Of Patan; An Unseen Gujarat Destination


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Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan- Dholavira - Frozen in Time

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6 Comments

  1. interesting information about history with beautiful pictures thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank You sir, the pleasure is all mine.

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  2. Mesmerising place. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for visiting the Blog. Pleasure was all mine. Do follow the blog as it encourages to write more and more interesting stories

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