Rani Ki Vav

This 11th-century Stepwell is the latest addition to the UNESCO world heritage sites list. This Stepwell is Queen of all step wells in India. Perfect example of Ancient India’s finest design and architecture.

Built on banks of river Saraswati and situated in Patan. Since the Saraswati river has completely dried up now, there is no water in the Vaav during most months except monsoons.

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Who built Rani Ki Vav?

Queen Udayamati built it in the memory of her late husband Bhima 1.

A bold decision by a Queen during medieval times, when she decided not to commit Sati, as a norm back then. Instead, she devoted her life to the welfare of her people.

This is the first of its kind where a Queen builds a monument in remembrance of her husband. She wanted her husband’s legacy to stay till eternity.

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Built-in Maru-Gujaru architecture, around the same time as Dilwara temples and Modhera Sun temple.

It has 7 levels of stairs with each level adorned with beautifully carved sculptures which surprisingly are still in very good condition.

There are claimed to be more than 1000 big and small sculptures adorning all the sections of Vav.

These sculptures mainly consist of gods, goddesses, Aphasara (Dancers), Naag Kanyas ( Snake Woman), Vishnu Avatars.

Rediscovering Rani ki Vav in the 1980s.

Due to floods in Saraswati Rani ki Vav was flooded and got completely buried, with no traces of its existence. for many centuries

When it was rediscovered in the 1980s it took ASI 10 years to excavate and then restore the complete Structure. This may be the reason for most of the sculptures being in very good condition too and protected it from many Islam Invaders.

In the last 1000 years, this region has suffered many earthquakes, but due to the amazing design and architecture, none of the sculptures is damaged.

The stepwell is designed in the form of an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water during that period. All the walls are adorned with numerous Hindu deities.

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is enshrined in the main sanctum in his favorite sleeping pose.

This image looks beautiful and serene and is visible from all the floors, making it easier for the devotees to have darshan of their favorite lord.

Prominent Sculptures on the walls of Vav

Geometrical shapes
Naag Kanya – 3 owls symbolize that like them she is active during the night
Monkey teasing a girl
Woman in her elaborate jewelry
woman chewing on a twig
woman adorning herself in the mirror while adjusting flower in her hair
woman wearing footwear