Rani ki Vav (Queen's stepwell) in Patan: the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site in GUjarat

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Step-wells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture.

Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. (Ref: ASI)

My Trip with parents

So who says trips with parents can't be fun? I did this trip last year when my parents visited me during winters, and quite possibly this was one of the best travel days for me!

Our first stop was Mothera Sun Temple, and next was Patan to see the famous Rani ni Vav (Queen's step-well). We had a taxi with us and that made everything very convenient and faster. Those travelling by bus might find it a little difficult to reach as I didn't really see any bus stop for public buses. It's better to come to Motera in a bus via Mehsana and then travel around in a hired auto.

The History of vav is not so well known, but most believe that it was built by Rani Udaymati in the memory of her King, Raja Bhimdev I, the founder of Solanki dynasty. And I think this is what makes this place even more unique and interesting, it's not the king building it for the queen but the other way round.

rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
Rani ni Vav
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
Rani ni Vav
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
Rani ni Vav
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
Rani ni Vav - the main well
Architecturally, the vav is a little different from the other step-wells in Gujarat. Its much bigger than any other step-wells that I have seen in this region, and I have seen many. Apart from the mammoth scale, its the beautiful carvings all around which take your breath away. Everything is so breathtaking that its difficult to just spend a few hours and absorb everything, especially when a lot of time is spent completely stunned by the beauty of it all!

Much focus was given on the material used and the integrity of all design elements.The restoration of the stepwell has taken care of these and much of what is seen today remains true to the original design.

rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
The intricately carved walls
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
The intricately carved walls
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
The intricately carved walls
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
Walls full of Gods and Goddesses

rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism
Apsaras in different poses
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism elephant
Man on an elephant
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
More Gods on the wall
Vishnu is the main God of worship here, and can be seen in his many avatars. Also noteworthy are the sculpted apsaras, with very expressive faces and eyes. Not just the expressions, the body language is also extremely beautiful, both for the men and the women.

rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
Vishnu
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
Shiv with Parvati
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
Very Buddha-like God, not sure who though
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings horse
Another God on the horse
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings animals
Another form of Vishnu
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings
A Bhikshu?

And the following are some of the beautiful faces and figurines at the vav. Just so beautiful...
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings breasts
Smiling beauty
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings face
Another beautiful face
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings face
More beauty
rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings face
Many more beautiful face

The caretaker of the vav is a Muslim guy, very diligent with his work and ensured that none touched the walls or did any damage to the structure. Quite a peculiar thing, even the caretaker at the Dada Hari ni Vav in Ahmedabad was a Muslim chap, and equally passionate about the place.

rani ki vav stepwell patan gujarat travel tourism carvings caretaker
The Muslim caretaker

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Rani ni Vav is in the morning when the sun rises and the whole complex is bathed in golden sunlight. You will get fantastic shots and also be able to spend quite some time by yourself as very people actually get there so early in the morning.


Comments

  1. Interesting place..Nice pictures.The intricatesculpting is amazing..

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  2. must visit place , loved the carving man there are just awesome .

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  3. Lovely pictures. I have seen a step well at Bundi, Rajasthan and I agree they are magnificent structures!

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  4. Lovely post, and I like your photographs. Well done.

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  5. I am always impressed by the extreme refinement and details of this sort of carvings. I also think about these thousands of anonymous artists who created such beauty, whose name has never reach us! If the stones could talk...

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  6. Oh, so many details! Great place and pictures.
    Wish you a happy evening:-)

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  7. The carvings are absolutely gorgeous and, somehow, remind me of those at the Jain Temple at Ranakpur, but do with know what amazes me the most? The whole temple carved in the ground! Outstanding! Great post.

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  8. Lovely intricate carving. This is the first time I've heard about Patan.

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  9. mygosh! this is a spectacular place!

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  10. @Sridharan: It was absolutely amazing there, so virgin despite being so spectacular!

    @Dhiraj: They surely are :)

    @magiceye: Thanks!

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  11. @Mridula: They definitely are. Each one I have visited has been so amazing, and unique as well!

    @indiaspecies: Thanks :)

    @DeeBee: I am so glad that spoke about the people who made this possible, often they are completely forgotten and only the kings and Gods are remembered...

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  12. @Spiderma: Thanks a lot :)

    @JM: Its not exactly a temple, but a step-well adorned with images of Gods all around! But I agree, underground is the most amazing part....

    @Purba: Its sad how few people know about the place...in a way its nice, because when you visit the place completely belongs to only you :)

    @eyeinthesky: Absolutely :)

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  13. so interesting! Great post and photos. That architecture is really fascinating!

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  14. Wow... I see this and wonder what are we leaving for some 'wanderer' to see few hundred years from now.

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  15. Impressed with the architecture! With the details with the dexterity of the human being to do such work of art!

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  16. Thank you very much for your visit and your kind words!
    Your photos are amazing!
    What beautiful buildings that architecture is like embroidery, incredible job!
    Have a nice weekend !
    Greetings

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  17. How absolutely breathtaking! There is something so spiritual about Indian artwork and architecture - it really speaks to the soul. To visit places like these must leave you standing in absolute awe. I have so enjoyed this visit with you and your parents. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us!

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    1. That's true...their is much spirituality in these sculptures...

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  18. Wow, I am staggered by the beauty of your photos. :-) I've never been to India, though one of my brothers has and I loved looking at all his pictures and hearing of his adventures. Travel with your parents is definitely NOT boring. :-)

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  19. Very impressive monument full of culture and history. Stunning pictures. My compliments!

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  20. Hi Siddhartha! Fabulous post with wonderful shots!! The Temple is magnificent!!
    Have a great week ahead!!

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  21. my oh my. look at the level of details in the carvings. awesome! thanks for sharing :) i really enjoy reading this.

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  22. Another fantastic temple-the sculptures are very elaborated!
    ps. I haven't been travelling with parents for so many years but I guess it could be fun:)

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  23. This Vaav is superb. Far better than the one near Ahmedabad. The Sculpture which you named as "another form of Vishnu" is "Mahisasur Mardini"

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  24. it cant be vishnu and parvati...its shiv and parvati.. nd the one with 10 hands is not vishnu..its durga

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    1. Ah! Thanks so much for all the corrections...really appreciate it!

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  25. This place must be off most tourists' radar as I haven't come across any article on this site other than yours. Such a nice thing to know that the caretaker really did take care of the Vav carefully, hence the well-preserved carvings. Another interesting place to visit in Gujarat. Thanks Sid!

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    1. I agree Bama...this place is really outside the radar of most people, except those who live in Gujarat itself. It certainly needs much more exposure...

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    2. Hi... sid.... you guys can visit so many places in Patan.... Rani ni Vav, Shastraling Talav(1000 Shiv ling), kal-bhirav temple, very big and beautiful jain temple, etc... etc... I can give you huge list and all are in Patan.

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  26. In the album you can see main well..... In old days if you have any decease related to tongue, then they drink water from that well..... And come out very fast from decease. Its our bad luck that now water is not available inside this well. (Main reason is level of under ground).

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    1. Thanks KC for such a wonderful comment :) Perhaps the next time I visit Patan, I will ping you to ask for more details. Do subscribe and leave your e-mail ID...

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  27. The temples in Indonesia also have many similarities with the temples - temples in Indonesia that must be the great work of human ancestors. It needs continuous custody, thank you all these photos.

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  28. The temples in Indonesia also have many similarities with the temples - temples in Indonesia that must be the great work of human ancestors. It needs continuous custody, thank you all these photos.

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