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Rani-ki-Vav, Gujarat

Been there recently?

Rani-ki-Vav, located in Patan, Gujarat, on the Saraswati River’s banks, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. It had been covered up until it was rediscovered and restored by the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1940s. In honour of her late husband, King Bhima I of the Chaulukya or Solanki dynasty, Rani Udayamati built this magnificent architectural wonder in the eleventh century AD. The stepwell, a fine example of Maru-Gurjara architecture, is described by UNESCO as demonstrating “the height of craftsmen’s ability in stepwell construction.” Its seven levels are connected by stairs and are divided into an inverted temple-like structure that features unmatched artistic excellence in its sculpted panels. Over a thousand minor sculptures and 500 main ones, representing religious, mythological, and secular imagery, are housed within the building. The majority of the sculptures honour Lord Vishnu in his many incarnations, including Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Narsimha, and Lord Vaman, among others. The Saraswati river, which flowed nearby, is thought to have flooded severely, burying the stepwell underground. It was resurrected after decades of painstaking restoration by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), starting in the late 1980s.

Nearby Places to See

Modhera Sun Temple
One of India’s top temples, the Sun Temple, is just 35 kilometres away in the town of Modhera. Visitors would be transported back in time by the intricate carvings, symmetrical arrangements, captivating pillars, lovely pond, and overall architecture. Bhima I, the ruler of the Solanki dynasty, constructed this magnificent temple in 1026 CE.
Modhera Sun Temple
Sahasralinga Talav
Sahasralinga Talav
Built on the Durlabh Sarovar (lake), this artificial tank is also known as the Sahastra linga Tank or Sahasra linga Talav. It was built during the Middle Ages on the order of the Solanki or Chaulukya dynasty. The tank is one of the largest waterfront structures built in 1084. It is a fine example of engineering from that time, and one would be left in awe of the process by which water was taken from the Saraswati River. It is clear that the channels into the stone inlets were skillfully carved to allow the water to collect and then flow into the tank. It is also claimed that the Sahasralinga Talav has built-in natural filtration to clean the water.
Patan Patola Heritage Museum
This unique museum was created with the sole objective of preserving an old weaving custom. Double ikat weaving has been a practice since the 11th century. It became known as Patola Silk as a result of the large number of weavers who settled in Patola. The Ajanta cave paintings also feature artwork in this style. Presently, only one family still uses the double ikat technique to weave Patan silk, and they have established this museum to showcase the traditional method. It is a fantastic opportunity to see Patan silk weaving in person because it is close to Rani-ki-vav and has been cultivated by this family for 35 generations.
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