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A fine example of a unique Indian subterranean architectural structure, Rani Ki Vav is a seven-storey stepwell. The step-well (known as Vav in Gujarati) was built by Queen Udaymati, queen of king Bhimdev-1 (AD 1022-1063) in memory of her late husband in the last quarter of 11th century AD. Bhimdeva-1 was son of Mularaja, the founder of the Solanki dynasty of Anhilwada Patan, which was once a capital of Gujarat.
According to reports, the property had been buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries after the disappearance of the Saraswati river. The vav was found by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and started excavations here in 1958. The carvings were found in pristine condition, when it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India. The restoration began in 1982 and was completed in 1988.
Its seven storeys of ornamented panels of sculptures and relief represent the height of the Maru-Gurjara style. Of the original seven storeys, five exist and only half of the fine sculptures survive.
This magnificent east-facing step well with a series of steps, pavilions, walls dotted by over 1,500 sculptures, provides access to water in a deep well. There are steps leading to this deep well. The well measures approximately 64m long, 20m wide and 27m deep.
The place have marvelous architecture on sandstone and it is one of the largest and the most sumptuous structures of its type. The stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals with pillared multi story pavilions. A part only of the west well is extant from which it appears that the wall had been built of brick and faced with stone. From this wall project vertical bracket in pairs, arranged in tiers bore out the different galleries of the well shaft proper. The bracketing is lavishly carved.
A small gate below the last step of the well is said to have opened into a 30-kilometre tunnel built as an escape gateway for the king to the town of Sidhpur near Patan in the times of defeat in a war.
The vav has graceful carved images of Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi, and others accompanied by sadhus and various female figures such as apsaras (celestial dancers), Nagkanyas (mythological serpent women), and Yoginis (women who practice Yoga). At water level one can see see, carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha. Some carvings in Rani Ki Vav resemble the mirrored textiles of the region.
Around 50–60 years back, the water accumulated in Rani ni vav, said to have had medicinal qualities because of ayurvedic plants that grew around it.
Entry fee for Indians Rs. 5/-, Foreigners 2 USD Camera is allowed.
Timings : Open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM