Rani Ki Vav is a stepwell which is located in the city of Gujarat, in the town of Patan. UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site. It is constructed on the bank of the river Saraswati.
Rani Ki Vav is considered to be one of the largest step wells of Gujarat with a height of 28 meters which counts to 92 feet and a width of 20 meters which counts to 66 feet. The structure of the well is made in step basics, which consist of 7 steps. The fourth step is the deepest with a height of 9.5 meters and it leads to a rectangular shaped tank. After the end of the step, there lies a vast circular well, with a diameter of 30 meters. The well took 20 years to get built. The walls of the well are so nicely carved in designs of different sculptors of religious, secular, and mythological deities. The pillars and columns are also very minutely done with scroll works and carvings of different statues. The well has 212 pillars in total with the niche in the walls being also very nicely decorated and carved with sculptors of Ganesha, Apsaras, Bhairav, Kalki, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and also celestial bodies like men women children, etc. It depicts that the whole universe is full of Gods and the well was built as an underground temple, giving weightage to Water. This well is a perfect example of “Solanki” architecture.
The Rani Ki Vav was constructed, during the rule of the Chalukya dynasty. It is said that “Udayamati” the daughter of Naravaraha Khengara had built this well in the memory of his husband Bhima-1. The well has so minute and delicate works all over that it took 20 years to get completed. It was started in 1063 and ended in 1083. Later, the well got filled with water from the river Saraswati.
The well got submerged into the water, many years earlier, due to flood from River Saraswati and other natural calamities but in 1989’s two excavators named Henry Cousens and James Burgess visited it, when it was under the Earth, but only some pillars were visible. After a lot of research, when it was discovered that this big a well is buried under, the Archeological department of India took the initiative to start the process of excavating the well.
And while the process a picture of Udayamati was also being found under the well. The whole process of excavation continued for almost 6-7 years that is from 1981 to 1987. Though due to pressure and in the process of excavation a lot of damage has occurred, but the architecture is so beautiful and the sculptures and the carvings are so minute, it is declared as a site of National importance, and it is protected by the ASI. The works were done with so much ease and planning, with the sculptors of almost 400 gods and goddess made in the walls and pillars, many other statues of normal human beings were also made depicting their daily life.
For example, in one of the sculptors, a lady or a girl is seen to write a letter in a sitting posture, in another one, a girl is seen playing with her hair, and the postures are done very minutely. Such works are hard to find nowadays. Even the ornaments like necklaces and bangles or earrings are so precisely done in the sculptors. It is considered to be one of the finest works of the then time.
How to reach or timings-
The place is situated in the city of Patan which is 127km from Ahmedabad, so one can take a cab or a bus to reach the world heritage site. Or one can avail of any road service from Gujarat, to reach the place. The nearest railway station is Mehsana which is 55km away from the site, so one can again take a cab or bus after reaching the station. And the nearest airport at a distance of 123km is the Ahmedabad airport from where it takes around 1hour to reach the place.
The place opens from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening. To enter this place a proper identity card is required to show the place of birth as the cost of the ticket is different. For Indians, the entry fee is Rs 35 and for foreigners, it is that of Rs 550. The place is a must-visit as it is one of the largest step wells and the works are very hard to see elsewhere.