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Watch 360° Video of Rani ki Vav Patan

Watch 360° Video of Rani ki Vav Patan

Rani ki Vav (The Queen's Stepwell) is a wonderful example of a Royal Step Well near Patan, Gujarat, which was built between 1022-1063 AD. It is located on the banks of Saraswati River and was built as a memorial to an 11th century AD king Bhimdev I. Rani ki vav was built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style with an inverted temple and seven levels of stairs and holds more than 500 principal sculptures.

The finest and one of the largest examples of its kind and designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, the stepwell is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels; more than 500 principal sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery.

Rani ki vav was constructed during the rule of the Chalukya dynasty. It is located on the banks of Saraswati river.[1] Prabandha-Chintamani, composed by the Jain monk Merutunga in 1304, mentions: "Udayamati, the daughter of Naravaraha Khengara, built this novel stepwell at Shripattana (Patan) surpassing the glory of the Sahastralinga Tank". According to it, the stepwell was commissioned in 1063 and was completed after 20 years. It is generally assumed that it was built in the memory of Bhima I (r. c. 1022 – 1064) by his queen Udayamati and probably completed by Udayamati and Karna after his death but whether she was a widow when she commissioned it is disputed. The commissariat puts the date of construction to 1032 based on the architectural similarity to Vimalavasahi temple on Mount Abu  built in the same year.[2][3][4]


The stepwell was later flooded by the Saraswati river and silted over.[5] In 1890s, Henry Cousens and James Burgess visited it when it was completely buried under the earth and only well shaft and few pillars were visible. They described it as being a huge pit measuring 87 metres (285 ft). In Travels in Western India, James Tod mentioned that the material from the stepwell was reused in the other stepwell built in modern Patan, probably Trikam Barot ni Vav (Bahadur Singh stepwell).[6][7] In the 1940s, excavations carried out under the Baroda State revealed the stepwell. In 1986, a major excavation and restoration was carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). An image of Udayamati was also recovered during the excavation. The restoration was carried out from 1981 to 1987.

Rani ki vav has been declared a Monument of National Importance and protected by the ASI. It was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites on 22 June 2014.[8][9] It was named India's "Cleanest Iconic Place" at the 2016 Indian Sanitation Conference.

Rani ki vav is considered as the finest and one of the largest example of stepwell architecture in Gujarat. It was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architecture style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and beauty of detail and proportions. The architecture and sculptures is similar to the Vimalavasahi temple on Mount Abu  and Sun temple at Modhera.

 Watch 360° Video of Rani ki Vav Patan

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It is classified as a Nanda-type stepwell. It measures approximately 65 metres (213 ft) long, 20 metres (66 ft) wide and 28 metres (92 ft) deep. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank 9.5 metres (31 ft) by 9.4 metres (31 ft), at a depth of 23 metres (75 ft). The entrance is located in the east while the well is located at the westernmost end and consists of a shaft 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter and 30 metres (98 ft) deep.[1][2] The stepwell is divided into seven levels of stairs which lead down to deep circular well. A stepped corridor is compartmentalized at regular intervals with pillared multistory pavilions. 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. There are 212 pillars in the stepwell.

Watch 360° Video of Rani ki Vav Patan

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