Rani Ki Vav, also known as the ‘Queen’s Stepwell,’ is a water storage system like no other!
Located in Patan, Gujarat, this 900-year-old structure listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is displayed prominently in the new ₹ 100 currency note issued by the Reserve Bank of India. But wait, there’s more! In the olden days, the water from this well had medicinal properties that helped ward off diseases like viral diseases and fever.
Apart from being a functional piece of architecture, Rani ka Vav is an excellent example of turning something into a piece of art. This stepwell, which is separated into seven levels of stairs, is 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. It’s like walking into a subterranean temple! You can see various ‘avatars’ or manifestations of Lord Vishnu, such as Kalki, Rama, Krishna, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi, along with Yoginis and Apsaras sporting the ‘Solah – Shringar’ or 16 different styles of ornamentation of oneself. Who doesn’t love a bit of bling, right?
But that’s not all! The most imposing imagery here is present at the water level of the Rani ki Vav, where you can see Vishnu reclining on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha. It’s like stepping into a divine world! Rani Ki Vav is also known for its intricately carved sculptures on pillars that number around eight hundred, primarily based on the theme of Lord Vishnu.
Rani ka Vav was constructed in the 11th century as a memorial of Bhimdev Solanki by his widowed Queen Udaymati. It’s designed in the shape of an inverted temple, divided into seven levels, highlighting the sanctity of water. It’s amazing how something so functional can be so beautiful!
If you’re planning to visit, you can reach the Rani ka Vav through a taxi or public buses. During the month of December or January, a Rani ka Vav festival is held where one can enjoy the cultural program along with exquisite local cuisine and street shopping. Trust me; you don’t want to miss this!
Overall, Rani ki Vav is a man-made marvel that showcases the art, culture, and spirituality of ancient India. If you’re a history buff or simply looking for an extraordinary experience, this place is a must-visit. Don’t forget to bring your camera and be prepared to be amazed!