Rani Ki Vav or 'Queen's Stepwell' is a distinctive form of water storage system located in the small town of Gujarat called Patan, on the banks of River Saraswati. Being one of the prominent attractions of Gujarat Rani ki Vav attracts a lot of tourists. The architecture and historical relevance of this beautiful stepwell is commendable.
This astonishing structure is built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style. The unique stepwell is constructed by Chaulukya dynasty Queen Udayamati in memory of her late husband, King Bhima I. It is 64 m long, 20 m wide & 27 m deep and is known for its stepped corridor and pillared multi-storey pavilions. It has a 30-kilometre tunnel, currently blocked by stones and mud, which is connected to the town of Sidhpur near Patan.
There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures being carved on the inner walls of the stepwell. The central theme is the Dasavataras (the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu). The other sculptures are of sages, apsaras (celestial dancers) and Brahmins. Some sculptures show Nagkanya, Yogini beautiful women and fairies, showcasing 16 different styles of make-up (Solah-shringar).
A masterpiece of architecture, Rani ki vav is the only stepwell to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also featured on the 100 Rupees Banknote issued by Reserve Bank of India.
Image Source: wikipedia.org