Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

Rani Ki Vav history is as interesting and fascinating as the artistic and architectural brilliance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gujarat.

Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

If the stones of Rani Ki Vav, the UNESCO World Heritage Site could speak, they would tell compelling stories about Rani  Ki Vav history. The monument is a glittering example of India’s rich architectural heritage and stands as a shining beacon of Gujarat’s heritage. As fascinating as the structural excellence of Rani Ki Vav, if not more, is the history of this stepwell, that transcends the boundaries of utilitarianism to become a statement of artistic excellence.

Mother Of All Stepwells – Rani Ki Vav

Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

About 130 km from the bustling city of Ahmedabad lies a monument of global significance, a rare and exemplary example of art, engineering, and architecture. This is Rani Ki Vav, located in the city of Patan, which is the administrative headquarters of the Patan district of Gujarat.

The stepwell, for that, is what it actually is, and you may be forgiven for forgetting this in the midst of the exquisite sculptural excellence that you will behold, is an elegy for a King from his queen. Let us dive deep into the fascinating history of Rani Ki Vav, and know more about the interesting facts about Rani Ki Vav.

Chequered Rani Ki  Vav History | Patan History

Rani Ki Vav is a fitting tribute to the historic city of Patan. The history of the city dates all the way back to the 9th century when it was established by Vanaraja Chavda, a king of the Chavda dynasty who held sway over what is now, modern-day Gujarat between the late 7th century CE to mid-10th century CE. The city was then known as Anahilapataka.

The city continued to be the capital of the region even after the end of the Chavda dynasty and the emergence of the Chaulukya dynasty, also known as the Solanki dynasty. It was during the rule of the Chaulukya dynasty which held sway between the 10th and 13th centuries, that the grand Rani Ki Vav was built. In the 13th century, Anahilapataka was laid waste by the advancing armies of Allaudin Khilji. It was after this that the new town of Patan came up near the ruins of the ancient capital.

Patan became the headquarters of the region under the Delhi Sultanate and then, the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate. It lost its importance after Ahmed Shah made Ahmedabad the capital in the early part of the 15th century.

History of Rani Ki Vav – From Dust To Dust

Rani Ki Vav is a masterpiece of design and execution. It has been built as an inverted temple and an ode to water, the essence of life. Over 5oo major sculptures and more than 1,000 minor sculptures embellish this unique stepwell. The story of Rani Ki Vav is virtually a story of rising from dust, getting buried in dust, and rising from that very dust.

Rani Ki Vav – Interesting Facts About Rani Ki Vav | A Timeline of History

Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

In terms of historical reference, the Rani Ki Vav is mentioned in the Prabandha-Chintamani of the Jain scholar Merutunga. The work dates back to the year 1304 CE and mentions that a grand stepwell was built by Udayamati, the daughter of Naravaraha Khengara at Shripattana (Present day Patan). The Prabandha-Chintamani also mentions that this stepwell surpassed the glory of the Sahasralinga Tank.

The Sahasralinga was a grand water tank, massive in size, and was embellished with temples, ghats, residential palaces, and rest houses. The Sahasralinga Tank got its name from the 1,000 Shiva Lingas that were brought here from Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, and established with small temples on the banks of the lake.

The Sahasralinga Tank was built by the Chulukya king Durlabharaja in the 11th century CE and later expanded at the beginning of the 12th century CE by Jayasimha Siddharaja. Today, only the ruins of the Sashasralinga Tank remain, as opposed to Rani Ki Vav, which is fairly well preserved.

It is believed that the Rani Ki Vav or the Queen’s Stepwell was built by the Chaulukya queen, Udayamati, the spouse of King Bhima I. It is generally accepted that Rani Ki Vav was a memorial for King Bhima I. It was commissioned in the year 1063 CE and took 20 long years to be completed. The building of the Queen’s Stepwell was done under the patronage of Queen Udayamati and her son Karna.

When completed Rani Ki Vav stood as a glowing tribute to the ingenuous and artistic minds that gave birth to it. It was not only a wonder of structural engineering and architectural design but was also an epitome of artistic finesse. The glory of Rani Ki Vav shone with a brilliant luminescence that attracted people from far and wide. However, the glory was short-lived.

It is believed that sometime during the 15th century, the Saraswati River, on whose bank the Rani Ki Vav stood, decided to change its course. The grand edifice of the Queen’s Stepwell went under and was covered with silt and lay buried under the earth for centuries to come.

The British archaeologist James Burgess visited the site in 1890 and found it completely buried underground with just a few pillars visible here and there along with the shaft of the well. It was as late as 1940, that a team of archaeologists from the then Baroda State, first revealed a glimpse of the magnificent Rani Ki Vav that lay buried under the ground.

It was only between 1981 and 1987 that major excavations were undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India, and the full glory of Rani Ki Vav was unveiled for the world to behold.

Today a structure that was once built as an ode to the memory of a king is classified as a Monument of National Importance and is also one of India’s important UNESCO World Heritage sites.

As you descend into the caverns of Rani Ki Vav and are blown away by its artistic splendour and engineering craftsmanship, the presence of Queen Udayamti seems to linger lovingly, protecting her memorial for her husband.

Are You Planning A Trip To Rani Ki Vav?

If you planning to visit Rani Ki Vav, Patan – The Queen’s Stepwell, you can book your flight tickets right here through Cleartrip or Makemytrip or CheapAir or Priceline  and fly to Ahmedabad. If you are thinking of a  road trip from Ahmedabad, do check out the rental car and bus options.

You can book Hotels in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Patan or any destination right here through any of the options –  TripAdvisor or Cleartrip or  makemytrip or  goibibo or  Booking.com or  HotelsCombined or  Agoda  and save a lot by getting the best deals on booking your stay.

Click to book the best hotels in Ahmedabad or the best hotels in Gujarat

We hope you were as fascinated by the history of Rani Ki Vav as we were. Our post, hopefully, piques your interest in planning your own trip there. In the meantime, continue travelling virtually with us through our blog and social media channels. Subscribe to our blog and newsletter and connect with us on our social media channels.

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Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

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Amazing Rani Ki Vav History

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