Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rani-ki-Vav-Stepwell,Patan-Gujarat

Rani-ki-Vav, a magnificent step well, at Patan is said to been constructed by Queen Udayamati wife of King Bhimadeva I (A.D. 1022-1063).This is the highest watermark of Solanki architecture. According to history, one Vanraj Chavda founded the city of Patan in 746AD. The city enjoyed the status of capital of Gujarat for about 600 years till 1411AD. Patan reached the heights of glory under the rule of Solankis till Mahmud Ghazni in 1024AD invaded the city and ransacked it. Patan of present times is just a reminiscent of the past glory and is popular for its beautiful Patola saris.














Citied as a spectacular piece of architecture reflects the superb sculpting skills of the artisans of the Solanki era. The step well, which was constructed by Queen Udayamati (AD 1022-63) in the loving memory of her husband King Bhimdev I of Solanki dynasty, is one of the finest step wells in India and a popular legacies of Patan. 
 
 It is 64 m long and 20 m wide .She completed the construction of Rani Ki Vav in 1063. 'Vav' is apparently the Gujarati word for 'baoli' (stepwell in Hindi). And definitely the 'Queen's Stepwell' of Patan, of the Gujarat area, must be the most beautiful stepwell of all. After construction of Rani Ki Vav it was flooded by Saraswati River. Later on in 1980 Archeological Survey of India found the Rani Ki Vav with awesome carving.
 

A brilliant Archological Monument of this Stepwell  was originally constructed of seven stories of which only five are now preserved. The shaft of this step well is 27 m deep. The step is oriented in east-west directions. The step well has long stepped corridor descending down to the underground tank, it is having four compartmental multi-storeyed pillared pavilions with circular draw well at rear end.
 
 The corridor walls, pillared pavilions and inner side of well are embellished with fine sculptures. Nearly 400 sculptures have survived out of the original estimated 800 sculptures, which comprise of Hindu gods and goddesses, apsaras and miscellaneous themes. 
 

The sculptures are ornate; each one has a story to tell. The worksmanship is exquisite. But what I liked best was that the steps gave me a choice...many choices to choose the path I wanted to take as I descended...and I could sit down just about anywhere I wanted to. 
 
There are so many idols Idols in each flour but of main idol is of Lord Vishnu, Sleeping on Sheshnag at basement of Stepwell. The monument is atleast 1,000 years old. it was not decorated with just a few geometric designs but extensively with sculptures of Mahishasuramardini, Parvati, Bhairava, Ganesha, Surya, Kubera, and the several avataras of Vishnu. Interspersed are the ashtadikpalas, yoginis, nagakanyas, and apsaras. 

 

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. The steps begin at ground level, leading down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below.
 
The wall projects the large vertical brackets in pairs, which supported the different galleries of the well. The brackets are arranged in tiers. It has a stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals with pillared multi-storeyed pavilions.
 
 The four pavilions which demarcate the stages along the descent have multiple storeys, two, four, six and seven respectively.  The full size sculptures of the stepwell are taken from the entire Hindu pantheon, for example, Vishnu, Shiva and their various aspects appear with or without their consorts.
 
Carving on a pillar of the Vav is very beautiful and reminds that how beautiful India was in the past. The rani Ki valve is very huge. There are beautiful gardens around the Rani Ki Vav. They have a beautiful lawn where once can relax. . Beautiful place, amazing sculptures, well maintained. Truly a world heritage site.

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