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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Exploring the Rani ki Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) in Gujarat

Rani ki Vav is the only stepwell which has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site

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Suman Bajpai
Suman Bajpai
Freelance writer, journalist, editor, translator and travel writer, Worked with different magazines as an editor. Writing for past 33 years

INDIA. Gujarat: Rani ki Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) is a stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat. This stepwell shows the exquisite craftsmanship created in the Maru-Gurjara architectural style. Rani ki vav is situated on the banks of the Saraswati River.

It was originally built as a stepwell, but now it is seen as a heritage. Rani ki Vav is the only stepwell which has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site (since 2014). It also comes under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). At the 2016 Indian Sanitation Conference, it was awarded the cleanest iconic place in India.

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For years flooded by the Sabarmati river, Rani ki Vav remained submerged in water and it was only around 1980 that it was evacuated by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Seven level construction

After the death of the king, Bhima I of the Solanki Dynasty, his wife, Rani Udayamati had built this Vav in his memory. Solanki dynasty had ruled India in the 11th century. The queen’s stepwell is a symbol of love.

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Stepwells came into existence in around 10th-11th century. They were primarily built built to provide water to villagers and farmers.

Rani ki Vav is divided into seven layers of stairs with sculptural panels and more than 500 large sculptures. There are over thousands of scupltures that depicts religious and mythological works.

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The stepwell is 64 meters in length, 20 meters in width and 28 meters in depth. 

Rani ki Vav is a single-component, water management system. It is slanted towards an east-west direction and combines all of the basic components of a stepwell. It has a stepped corridor beginning at ground level; a series of four pavilions with an increasing number of storeys towards the west, the tank, and the well in tunnel shaft form. 

Not only its architectural structure, water sourcing technique and solid erection impresses, but also its aesthetically designed sculptures depict creativity of the artisans of that period.

Basically, the main theme of sculptures here are ‘Dasavataras’, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha. Precision reflects in every nook and corner of the stepwell. 

Rani ki Vav. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai

Designed as an inverted temple, one cannot resist from admiring each step of the step well that has been created in a scientific manner. Amazed by the sanctity and holiness of this place, visitors often spend hours here. 

A carved monument in the stepwell. Photo Credit: Suman Bajpai

It is believed that the water, due to the herbs that are found in the Rani ki vav is magical. It also has the power to cure different ailments. 

The walls, pillars, columns, brackets and beams are ornamented with carvings and scroll work. The niches in the side walls are ornamented with beautiful and delicate figures and sculptures.

Also Read: Little Rann of Kutch: World’s Only Sanctuary for Wild Asses

Author

  • Suman Bajpai

    Freelance writer, journalist, editor, translator and travel writer, Worked with different magazines as an editor. Writing for past 33 years

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