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Rani ki vav

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rani-ki-vav (the Queen's Stepwell) at Putan,
Gujarat
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cltral
Criteria !i"!i#"
Reference $%&
UNESCO region Soth 'sia
nscripti!n hist!ry
nscripti!n %&() !*+th session Session"
,ani -i .a#, #ie/ from the top
Rani ki vav is a famos step/ell sitated in 0atan to/n in 12arat in 3ndia4 3t /as
inclded in the list of UNESCO5s World Heritage Site on %% 6ne %&()4
7(87%8
0atan /as called as 'nhilpr 0atan /hen -ing Siddhar2a 6aysingh /as rling 9 it /as
the capital of 12arat4 :r4 .anra2a Cha#da has fonded 0atan4 ;ring the period of the
Solanki or Chalkya, the step/ell called the Rani ki vav, or Ran-ki vav !<een=s step
/ell" /as constrcted4 3t is a richly sclptred monment4
3t is generally assmed that it /as bilt in the memory of >himde# 3 !'; (&%% to (&?*"
son of :lara2a, the fonder of the Solanki dynasty of Anahilwada Pattan in abot (&@&
'; by his /ido/ed Aeen Udayamati4
3t /as probably completed by Udayamati and -arande# 3 after his death4 ' reference to
Udayamati bilding the monment is in the 50rabandha Chintamani5 composed by
:ernga Sri in (*&) ';4
Bhis magnificent east facing step /ell measres approCimately ?)m long, %&m /ide 9
%Dm deep4 ' stepped corridor compartmented at reglar inter#als /ith pillared mltiE
storeyed pa#ilions is a niAe featre4 3t /as one of the largest and the most smptos
strctres of its type4 3t became silted p and mch of it is not #isible no/, eCcept for
some ro/s of sclptred panels in the circlar part of the /ell4 'mong its rins one pillar
still stands /hich is the proof not only of the elegance of its design, bt also eCcellent
eCample of this period4 ' part only of the /est /ell is eCtant from /hich it appears that
the /all had been bilt of brick and faced /ith stone4 From this /all pro2ect #ertical
bracket in pairs, this spported the different galleries of the /ell shaft proper4 Bhis
bracketing is arranged in tiers and is richly car#ed4 Bhe minte and eCAisite car#ing of
this #a# is one of the finest specimens of its kind4 >efitting its name, the Rani-Ki-Vav is
no/ considered to be the Aeen among step /ells of 3ndia4
Bhere is also a small 1ate belo/ the last step of the step /ell /hich has a *& kilometre
tnnel bilt !No/ it has been blocked by stones and md" /hich leads to the to/n of
Sidhpr near 0atan4 3t /as sed as an escape gate/ay for king /ho bilt the step /ell in
the times of defeat4
"rnate si#e walls
.ishn sclptre inside ,ani ki .a#
:ost of the sclptres are in de#otion to .ishn, in the forms of ;sE'#atars -alki,
,ama, :ahisasrmardini, Narsinh, .aman, .arahi and others representing their retrn to
the /orld4 Nagkanya, Yogini beatifl /omen E Apsara sho/casing (? different styles of
makeEp to look more attracti#e called Solah-shringar
'rond @&F?& years back there sed to be ayr#edic plants arond this areas /hich
cases the /ater accmlated in ,ani ni #a# helpfl for #iral disease, fe#er etc4
,ani !<een" Udayamati commissioned this #a# or step/ell, in (&?* in the memory of
her hsband -ing >himde# 3 of the Solanki dynasty4 Bhe #a# /as later flooded by the
nearby Saras/ati ri#er and silted o#er ntil the late ($+&s, /hen it /as eCca#ated by the
'rcheological Sr#ey of 3ndia, /ith the car#ings fond in pristine condition4 ,ani -i .a#
is amongst the finest step/ells in 3ndia, and one of the most famos legacies of the
ancient capital city4
Bhe #a#s of 12arat are not merely sites for collecting /ater and socialising, bt also
simltaneosly hold great spirital significance4 Bhey /ere originally constrcted Aite
simply, bt became more intricate o#er the years, perhaps to make eCplicit this ancient
concept of the sanctity of /ater by car#ing it ot in stone deities4 Go may ths enter
,ani -i .a# as if it is a sbterranean temple4
Bhe steps begin at grond le#el, leading yo do/n throgh the cool air throgh se#eral
pillared pa#ilions to reach the deep /ell belo/4 Bhere are more than +&& elaborate
sclptres among se#en galleries4 Bhe central theme is the ;asa#ataras, or ten
incarnations of .ishn, inclding >ddha4 Bhe a#atars are accompanied by sadhs,
>rahmins, and apsaras !celestial dancers", painting their lips and adorning themsel#es4 't
/ater le#el yo come to a car#ing of SheshashayiE.ishn, in /hich .ishn reclines on
the thosandEhooded serpent Shesha, /here it is said he rests in the infinity bet/een ages4

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