Thursday, 14 June 2018

Rani ki Vav (Wow)...

One of the main attraction that was listed in our Gujrat tour itinerary was to visit the 'queen' of all step wells in India- Rani ki Vav. We learned that this visit could be clubbed with other two important nearby places- the Sun temple at Modhera and Sidhpur to witness its' beautiful Bohra havelis. We skipped Sidhpur as we were short of time.

The garden leading to the step well...

























The first glimpse of Rani ki Vav…


























The view of the pillars once we descend the steps...

























Rani- ki- Vav or the Queen's step well is situated in the town of Patan  (around 125 kms from Ahmedabad). The well is almost hidden among the sprawling gardens spread across the area.  Located in the banks of river Saraswathi, it was built in the 11th century by Queen Udayamathi not only in memory of her beloved husband Bhimdev I (the founder of the Solanki dynasty) but also to keep up a traditional practice called- 'Parvathi's Penance'- goddess separated by death from her consort and practicing austerities to win reunion.

View from other end (notice the stairs and the levels one has to descend)… 





































The depth and the levels of the well...























































The well is constructed in the form of an inverted temple in keeping with the notion that 'water is scarce in the semi-arid region and thus will be revered as God'. It has 7- storeys which is 64 mts long, 20 mts. wide and 27 mts deep. There is also a small gate below the last step well (which is blocked now) with a 30 kms tunnel which leads to the nearby town Sidhpur. But entry into the well after forth level is prohibited for public.

The step well was flooded in 14th century by the near by Saraswathi river and silted over which was later excavated by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1980s. Due to its' late discovery, much of the structure is still in good shape.



























Vishnu in standing pose (at the far right end)…

























Vishnu in supine pose...


























Sculptures on the galleries...


























Dasavataras…





































There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures and 226 pillars in the 7 galleries of the vav. The central 
theme of these sculptures being 'Dasavataras' or the 'Ten Incarnations' of Vishnu, each 'avatar' has been intricately depicted. The view of the 'Vishnu' in a standing pose and that of 'Sheshashayana Vishnu' in the inner sanctums are very unique. Made with black stones, these sculptures can be seen their respective levels only but not from any other levels. 

Geometric designs on walls...














































































Other major depiction in the step well is that of Gauris (different forms of Parvathi, Shiva's consort). 
Nagakanyas and apsaras in different moods showcasing different styles of make-up (solah shringar) is appealing too. Detailed geometrical designs 'patola' can also be seen at various places which has its' significance till modern times as it is being reproduced in the form of Patola sarees.  



















































The step well as well as the entire vicinity has been very well maintained. It gets very few visitors as compared to the crowded Adalaj step well (near Gandhinagar) so we were able to admire the beauty of this historical marvel in quietude. 

Temples and Step wells of Lakkundi

The numerous drives that we had undertaken between Hubli and Hyderabad in the last 10 years, never had we noticed this tiny village- Lakkun...