A ‘Vav’ is referred to a Stepwell in Gujarat which is in the form of a distinct water storage system. Rani Ki Vav is not just any water storage unit, located in the district of Patan in Gujarat it is an architectural masterpiece. Recently listed as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites this Stepwell beautifies the bank of the holy river of Saraswati. The place is an epitome of the heights of the architectural and designer wonderment which was prevalent during that era. This Vav was excavated in the year 1960 after having being buried under silt for centuries and decades. Based on the Maru Gujarat architectural style the Stepwell is an incredible piece of history which gives us a glimpse of how it was back in time.
History of Rani Ki Vav
This is undoubtedly one of the grandest and the most elaborate stepwells in Gujarat whose construction dates back to 1063 – 1068 AD. According to certain historical sources and archives the construction of this stepwell was commissioned by the wife of king Bhimdev 1, rani Udayamati representing the Solanki dynasty. According to the sources she had gotten the stepwell completed after the passing away of her husband as a way of paying homage to his memories. Just like its other contemporary step wells that were created in Gujarat around this time, Rani Ki Vav was not primarily used for collecting water but also as a place for socialising and even offering prayer to the deities who are engraved in the wall.
Architecture of Rani Ki Vav
The architectural grandeur and remarkable design of this Vav have often been placed next to the sun temple at Modhera and the Vimala Vashi temple in Mount Abu. It has been classified under the Nanda style of design and consists of several varying levels. The 4th level present here is the deepest one and also consists of a massive rectangular tank. Over all the structure is divided into seven levels along with sets of stairs that lead down to the circular well. Every feature of the Vav including the pillars, brackets, columns etc are finely carved out and elaborately ornamented.
Speaking about sculptures, there are over 500 of them and more than 1000 small sculptures within the stepwell which hold religious, mythological and importance of some literary work. The Vishnu sculptures outnumber every other one here and if one can see over all, the ornamentation is done the way that it represents the whole universe through images of animals, fishes, plants, trees, birds etc. not just this the sculptures here also showcase everyday women going about with their daily activities which gives us a lot of insight about how everyday lifestyle used to go on during that era.
Interesting Facts About Rani Ki Vav
According to some experts, Rani Ki Vav is built in the form of an upside down temple consisting of 7 levels going down and converging at the well and the mythological imageries of various gods and goddesses also makes it look like that.
Just like almost every other historical structure, Rani Ki Vav also has its secrets. There is a gate present underneath the last step leading down to the well which leads into a 30 metre tunnel which straight away opens up to the town is Sidhpur which is very close to Patan.
It is said that around more than 50 years ago, way before it got silted over, the stepwell contained a number of medicinal plants because of which the water here was believed to cure a number of skin related diseases among other fever and ailments.
Tourist Information For Rani Ki Vav
- Rani Ki Vav is situated at a distance of around 123 kms from Ahmedabad that can be covered at a road journey of around 3 to 4 hours.
- Rani Ki Vav remains open from 8 am to 6 pm. Early morning is the most ideal time to visit due to lesser presence of tourists and quiet environment.
- Ahmedabad is connected to Patan via trains and buses making connectivity even easier for visitors.
- One can choose to also avail the services of a shared jeep if you are travelling on budget but it won’t be that comfortable, yet it is a quicker option.
- Then entry fee to Rani Ki Vav is as follows – 5 rupees for Indians and 2 dollars for foreigners.
Best Time to Visit
The step well is situated in one of the most extreme weather conditions where summer season is unbearably hot and humid. This makes the best time to visit Rani Ki Vav during the autumn, winter and spring months of September to April. During this time the weather is comfortable and pleasant for travelling making a visit there worth it.