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World Heritage Site :- Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen's Stepwell)

Rani ki vav is an intricately constructed Stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat, India. It was included in the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Site on 22 June 2014.
Raniki Vav, “the Queen’s stepwell”, at Patan, the medieval capital of Gujarat, was built in the last decades of the eleventh century by Queen Udayamati as a memorial to her husband Bhimadeva-1 of the Caulukya dynasty. Measuring more than sixty-five meters in length, it is among the largest in Gujarat, and in terms of its sculptures which number about five hundred, surpasses all other examples.
The stepwell, or a well with an underground flight of steps leading down to the level of the water, developed early in the arid region of Western India and Rajasthan. In the earliest stepwells nothing more than plain dressed stone protected the sides of the sandy pit, but gradually architects devised the means to strengthen these structures, the corridors expanded vastly in length and width, landing were introduces at regular intervals, pavilions with multiple storeys were built and the stepped passage, which to begin with was only a practical adjunct to a well acquired a character of its own. In this way, the humble village well was transformed into a strikingly original architectural form.
This magnificent east facing step well measures approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank 9.5 m by 9.4 m, at a depth of 23 m. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft 10 m in diameter and 30 m deep.
A stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals with pillared multi-storeyed pavilions is a unique feature. It was one of the largest and the most sumptuous structures of its type. It became silted up and much of it is not visible now, except for some rows of sculptured panels in the circular part of the well. Among its ruins one pillar still stands which is the proof not only of the elegance of its design, but also excellent example of this period. A part only of the west well is extant from which it appears that the wall had been built of brick and faced with stone. From this wall project vertical bracket in pairs, this supported the different galleries of the well shaft proper. This bracketing is arranged in tiers and is richly carved. The minute and exquisite carving of this vav is one of the finest specimens of its kind. Befitting its name, the Rani-Ki-Vav is now considered to be the queen among step wells of India.
There is also a small Gate below the last step of the step well which has a 30 kilometre tunnel built (Now it has been blocked by stones and mud) which leads to the town of Sidhpur near Patan. It was used as an escape gateway for king who built the step well in the times of defeat.

It is generally assumed that it was built in the memory of Bhimdev I (AD 1022 to 1063), the son of Mularaja, the founder of the Solanki dynasty of AnahilwadaPattan about 1050 AD by his widowed queen Udayamati and probably completed by Udayamati and Karandev I after his death. A reference to the Udayamati building the monument is in the 'PrabandhaChintamani' composed by MerungaSuri in 1304 AD.
Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Nagkanya, Yogini beautiful women - Apsara showcasing 16 different styles of make-up to look more attractive called Solah-shringar
Around 50–60 years back there used to be ayurvedic plants around this areas which causes the water accumulated in Rani nivav helpful for viral disease, fever etc.
Rani (Queen) Udayamati commissioned this vav or stepwell, in 1063 in the memory of her husband King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty. The vav was later flooded by the nearby Saraswatiriver and silted over until the late 1980s, when it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India, with the carvings found in pristine condition. Rani Ki Vav is amongst the finest stepwells in India, and one of the most famous legacies of the ancient capital city.
The vavs of Gujarat are not merely sites for collecting water and socialising, but also simultaneously hold great spiritual significance. They were originally constructed quite simply, but became more intricate over the years, perhaps to make explicit this ancient concept of the sanctity of water by carving it out in stone deities. You may thus enter Rani Ki Vav as if it is a subterranean temple.
The steps begin at ground level, leading you down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries. 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 Rani Ki Vav festival is proposed to be held in the month of December or January every year.
The festival is intended to celebrate the inclusion of the monument in the list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and promote the local culture through tourism.
Following will be some of the highlights of the Rani Ki Vav festival:

  • Special lighting and decor at the site
  • Cultural Programmers of Dance and Music
  • Setting up of a market for street shopping of local products
  • Food festival offering the most exquisite local cuisines
  • Exhibition of local arts and crafts
How to get there
By Road:
Intercity buses from Ahmedabad to Patan take 3.5 hours, and 1 hour from Mehsana. Shared jeeps are also available.
By Rail:
The nearest railway stations in Mehsana which is 1 hour away from Patan.
By Air
Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.

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