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Rani ki Vav(Queen’s Stepwell): Patan, Gujrat

Patan, known for Rani ki Vav and Patola Saris, is two and a half hour drive from Ahmedabad. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Rani ki Vav is an ancient step-well or baodi or vav in Gujarati.

Stepwells are water tanks that are reached by descending steps. These were built by digging deep trenches to reach the underground water and the walls are lined with stones with steps to reach the water. Step-wells were not only a source of water but also became the place for social and religious gatherings. The architectural features of subterranean  pavilions, passageways and chambers at different levels in the step-wells also provided relief during hot days. The walls of stones were mostly heavily adorned with sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.


Rani ki vav was built in early 11th century(1050 AD) by the widowed queen in memory of her husband, Raja Bhimdev I of Solanki Dynasty of Gujrat. The step-well built near the ancient Rigvedic River Saraswati, was buried in the debris and silt after the floods in the river. It was only in 1960 when Archaeological Survey of India dug up the site to expose this magnificent architectural marvel.

The step well, oriented in east-west directions, has been constructed as an inverted temple to emphasize the religious importance of water. The well is in seven levels of stairs decorated with more than 500 elaborate ornate sculptures depicting many mythological and religious stories. The fourth level leads to the water tank and well which is at a depth of 23 meters. There also was a gate at the lowest level which had a tunnel supposedly an escape route during an attack. The tunnel is closed due to rubble, however.

We reached the step-well at around 12:30 in the afternoon navigating through narrow village streets and almost missing a turn or two. The approach road passes through the village and is confusing as there are no proper direction sign-boards to the step-well. The lawns around the step-well are well maintained and the boards describing the history of the well are put up for the tourist convenience. There is a proper parking area as well.

The tourists are not allowed to descend down all the levels to prevent any accidents. The wall of the well is also covered with many sculptures but it was from only a distance that we could see a few statues which were visible from the fourth level pavilion.

The central theme of all the sculptures was the Hindu god Lord Vishnu and his ten incarnations surrounded by statues of celestial nymphs, the apsaras and yoginis. The step-well was one of the best work of art and architecture of Solanki Kings.

I was definitely very happy that we made this trip as my fascination towards historic monuments was fulfilled. It is yet another example of the exquisite craftsmanship of Indian artisans and definitely worth visiting.


  1. I like the information that’s presented while describing your trip. A travel blog is at its best when it tells you about another culture while also painting a picture of excitement.

    I think I would like to see pictures throughout the article instead of all the pictures bunched together, but that’s just me.

    The pictures are excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Shoma,
    Unlike other travel bloggers, who share only the best part and nice pics of their travel, very wise of you to do otherwise and warn us about the difficulties or probable dangers to be encountered while travelling to different places. It’s informative and worth considering.


  3. Engineering marvels related to water harvesting are stunning we find in ancient monuments. The water reservoir constructed in these monuments are designed in such a fashion so as it may store the water in its natural form. I came across one of such marvels in the British period port building situated in Mahanadi River near Bay of Bengal in Paradip in Odisha. The sea water is not drinkable, hence the building had been designed to store rainy water for human consumption.
    The photography skill you have is outstanding as all the pics depict themselves the minute sculptors they possess. Description of the step-well is simply amazing. Few pics capturing the surroundings might have supported the descriptive in more friendly manner, as i think because only two pics have the subject other than the sculptor arts.
    Thanks for taking us to Rani ka vav at Patan, one of the UNESCO World Heritage.


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