Rani ki vaav: An architectural eye feast

Rani ni vav: Rani Ki Vav /vaav or Rani ni vaav as it is called locally, is situated in Patan, Gujarat. It takes around 2 hours to reach this place from the city of Ahmadabad. This place is on UNESCO heritage list. And boy  does it deserve to be there!

A wall curving inside Rani ki vaav

It is a vaav – or a step well. It was built near river Saraswati. The place was completely buried, damaged by floods in the river, silt but was later excavated by ASI. At times, even the greatest among all require a bit of assistance to come back to their shining selves. Now the compound is beautifully maintained by the authorities with landscaped approach to the site.

Area surrounding Rani ni vaav

When we entered during early hours just after 9 AM, there were several kinds of birds nearby.  The board at the entrance gives a bit about the so called history of this place, like it was built by Rani Udayamati in last quarter of 11 the century AD. But that is not enough to prepare you to control your awe at the first look of this site.  It is a huge structure.

Rani ki vaav…the first look

There is another notion regarding the step wells. Some say that step wells were constructed as inverted temples, dedicated to the water deity. I felt like believing that as I descended into the well through the steps. I tried to imagine the grandeur of this place during its hay days..

Inside the step well — Rani ki vaav

There are several levels of the well and each of these stories are supported by pillars.

A view from the inside of the stepwell

Once you descend , the complete structure of the place comes into sight with several layers and the supporting pillars. We were allowed till the 4 th level as there is some damage due to earthquake to the structure.

Side wall sculptures in Rani ki vaav

The side walls feature elegant sculptures, even the pillars are beautifully curved. The sun-rays come inside the well to brighten up parts of it , making the sight an absolute feast for the eyes.

It is a story of a glorious and beautiful past, curved in stone, frozen and kept safe for the future to experience. Good thing here is that this precious sample of the artistic capabilities of our ancestors is being maintained and looked after properly. Guess there is still hope… ????

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