When it comes to monument for your love, the first image that pops into our minds is that of the TajÂ Mahal, in Agra. Taj Mahal was built by the Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife MumtajÂ Mahal. But have you ever wondered if such a monument has been erected by a queen for her husband?Â If you do, then you would be happy to know that there is indeed a beautiful structure standing on theÂ banks of River Saraswati, speaking about the love held by a queen for her king. Yes, am referring to theÂ step well in Patan, Gujarat very popularly known as Rani ki Vav.
Step wells have been in existence in the Indian subcontinent from as early as the 3rd century and serve asÂ a water storage and management system. Initially, these were only a pit made in sandy landscape forÂ the purpose of water and later they evolved into structures boasting of intricate art work. Rani Ki Vav,Â the step well which serves as a memorial to the King Bhimdev was built during the 11 th century by QueenÂ Udayamati in his memory.
Rani Ki Vav is a standing testimony to the craftsmanship of the architects during the period and theÂ design itself looks like that of an inverted temple praising the sanctity of water. There are seven levelsÂ to this step well with each level completely adorned with panels of beautiful sculptures. The sculpturesÂ on this intricately carved step well include 500 principal ones and other thousands of minor artworkÂ spanning across different myths, religion, folklore and more. The actual well is found at the western partÂ of the entire structure and is of 30 m deep.
The place is mesmerising
Apart from the impressive motifs and the right proportion of spacing between the sculptures, the stepÂ well also serves as a reminder to the fact that our ancestors have indeed been very advanced inÂ technology. The structure is also a testimony to the artistic advancement and craftsmanship during theÂ early centuries in India, especially the way the well begins suddenly in the plain land while giving you anÂ aesthetic appeal.
The place is marked as a world heritage site
The step well was not excavated until the 1980s as the entire structure was flooded by River SaraswatiÂ and was silted over. What really stands out is the fact after nearly 10 centuries later, the well whenÂ excavated was in pristine condition and so were the sculptures on the seven levels. Now, the property isÂ under the protection as a national monument and there are punctual restorations done to certain areasÂ without hindering the stability of the structure and its design. This place has also been marked as worldÂ heritage site by UNESCO.
With a brilliant illustration of art and technology, the step well, Rani ki Vav is a true memoir of love andÂ devotion of a Queen to her King.