Rani-Ki-Vav or the Queen’s Step-well in Patan is an exceptional example of technological development in utilising and storing ground water resource. It was constructed during 1063 to 1068 AD by the widowed Queen Udaymati, but was excavated only in the 1980s. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014, it is arguably one of the best places to experience in Gujarat. It’s a 2.5 hour drive from Ahmedabad, with regular buses also plying to Patan. Also Read - Lockdown News: These States Impose Lockdown-Like Restrictions in March, Only Essential Services Allowed | Full List
Built on the banks of the river Saraswati, Rani-Ki-Vav served as a memorial to a king in the 11th-century AD. An elaborate multi-storey work of art and Maru-Gujarat architecture, Rani-Ki-Vav was at the top as far as craftsmen’s ability in step-well construction was concerned. It was primarily designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, and divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality. More than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combined religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works as well.
Back in the day, the well used to be surrounded by a number of medicinal herbs which was said to impart a medicinal quality to its water which in turn helped ward off viral diseases and fever. Numerous sculptures here are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his various forms like Kalki, Rama, Krishna, Narsinh, Vaman, and Varahi. Additionally, Rani-Ki-Vav was an important centre for socialising among the locals as well. It’s quite a marvel because of its sheer size and grandiosity, attracting travellers from all over the world.