Rani Ki Vav...Queen of Stepwells

Rani Ki Vav | Queen Of Stepwells

Ques : Which monument in India has been added into UNESCO World Heritage site in India recently?

Answer : Rani Ki Vav

Year was 2014, not that long ago and if I can remember correctly it was the most common question in every Gk exam those days. Which monument in India has been added into UNESCO World Heritage site in India recently? Answer was Rani Ki Vav. I remember almost every candidate got it correct like me. Though somewhere it helped in result and somewhere didn’t.

Past is past now, those days have gone by, but yes somewhere memories do give some tickles time by time. May be those tickles are the reason which inspire me to explore the heritage of India, something which I love the most.

This time I was going to recently declared UNESCO First Heritage city of India “Ahmedabad”. It being the official trip, henceforth looked less likely that Ahmedabad could be explored fully, but yes Rani Ki Vav which was around 100 km away had been fixed as must visit destination.

Ahmedabad : The So Called First UNESCO World Heritage City Of India… 

It was not the first visit to Ahmedabad, though the first one happened long ago in that age, of which I don’t remember much. Being the recently declared UNESCO heritage city of India, expectations were high.

But, It is rightly said, Don’t keep the expectations too high, it will revert back negatively with double the force. Never had thought of this situation, but the first hour only had proved this.

As soon as sat in the taxi for hotel, asked the driver “Whats there to see in Ahmedabad? and the answer came, Sabarmati Ashram, Sun Temple, Adalaj Stepwell”. No doubt, the places named are indeed must visit places but place in question was Ahmedabad. And all these places told by driver doesn’t come in Ahmedabad, they are out of Ahmedabad.

May be he didn’t knew much, same question asked at hotel reception and answer was no different, may be some other places too added. But the answer left Me and Mrs stunned face looking at each other like thinking “Is that some other Ahmedabad, tagged as first UNESCO Heritage city of India”.

Though this being the Travel post, but situations of this country forces to mingle politics in it, and Why not. How a city which has such a less of Heritage has become First Heritage city of India? Why not New Delhi – The National capital, where Heritage is present on every corner of every street. Don’t know when this corruption will vanish from air of India.

 

Here starts the Story...First Glimpse of Rani Ki Vav...
Here starts the Story…First Glimpse of Rani Ki Vav…

बाओली तो बोहोत देखी होंगी, मगर कोइ बाओली देखी है जो बादलों को छुए..आइये कभी रानी की वव…

अमिताभ बच्चन

 Let’s Begin The Tour of Rani Ki Vav….

What people think when they plan to visit India, I think there must be two things which should come first in their mind. Heads every where, thanks to the huge population of India and second being Taj Mahal. With same feeling for Gujarat, though not with same things in mind we head towards Gujarat.

I have been a great fan of Baoli’s or step well’s. If you guys are following me on Instagram then you must have seen my pics of Rajon ki Baoli, Abhaneri Baoli of Rajasthan or the very famous PK ka Ghar Agrasen ki Baoli. Well if not, trust me you are still not that late to follow me :-P.

Ok Fine, first let me explain what exactly a Baoli is? I know many of you must have visited many, but this is for some of those who sometimes commented on my pic, Whats this?

“Stepwells are examples of the many types of storage and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. A basic difference between stepwells on the one hand, and tanks and wells on the other, is to make it easier for people to reach the ground water and to maintain and manage the well”.

Enough of knowledge, lets carry on with the real experience.

 

Why So Confused? Haven’t They Heard Of Rani Ki Vav?

Who wants his day to start with all sorts of confusions? But that day of mine saw started with all sorts of confusions. Okay, would you ever expect that a place which is a declared UNESCO world heritage monument, and people doesn’t know its location? Hope you got the idea about my starting of the day.

Every other Taxi guy coming up with a different price, Google baba showed Rani ki vav around 125 km away from Ahmedabad, but Taxi driver coming up with all together different calculation which made it 175 km. Some how failing to understand, from where did this extra 50 Km was adding up?

Finally one guy accepting on kilometer rate, and the journey started.

Day had started with all sort of chaos and confusion then how could this driver spare us. After every 10-15 Km kept on asking “Kahan Jana hai?(Where do you have to go?), Wife stares and automatically answer with a bit of grin comes out Rani Ki vav in Patan. After second or third time confusion had reached to an answer, I guess we are sitting with somebody who is great Fan of Aamir Khan or is suffering from Ghajini Syndrome.

Like this was not enough, another question or confusion had started showing his signs on the face of Mr.Driver. This time it was the location of CNG station, wow what a day was going on. Thank you Gujarat. After missing two cuts, somehow able to find the right way of CNG station.

Enough is enough now, its better to take the lead now. Switched on the Google Map, its better to let Google Bua guide towards Rani Ki Vav otherwise it seems impossible. Google Bua has been the sole support of whole Delhi to Goa roadtrip in June month, why not resort to her help again.

Still this thing feels the most strange thing ever felt, being from Delhi and proudly can say “A Dilliwala doesn’t need a Google Map in Delhi, ask some place and he would guide in way like you asked his own address”. But in those three days of Ahmedabad, where we went, but situation remained same.

 

Finally Rani Ki Vav … Welcome…

Those days are gone, when Lovers used to build structures in memory of their living or died Lover. Nowadays Lovers only scratch their names on the walls of Heritage places of India. Whichever monument, Tomb or No tomb, but at the top of it one random heart would be scratched and names written inside it.

 

Queen of Stepwells in India... Rani Ki Vav
Queen of Stepwells in India… Rani Ki Vav

 

Hoping for same I was standing on the first step of Rani Ki Vav. Somehow feel was different, no signs of any heart shape? How? Okay, we were standing not at UNESCO world heritage monument only, it is “The Cleanest Monument” as well of India. That’s something new which I came to know, thanks to our guide, whose this point only was worth remembering.

Been to many stepwells before, Deepest, grandest, etc but this was something different in front of me. I asked our Guide who was the Architect of this? And answer was no different from other written materials on Internet.

Rani Udayamati built this Rani Ki Vav in memory of his king. Okay fine, but who was architect, I am sure she didn’t designed it? But no answer. Why this happens? Kings order the monument, but it is the turn key project which is done by architects, somehow in history architect didn’t got that credit.

Well this was the time for Mr.Guide to come up with his story.

 

 Lets Go back A Bit…. Let’s say Hello to Udayamati ji…

Okay let me remember Mr.Guide’s words a bit and try to be exact. Yes, neither I remember his name nor I wrote it somewhere. To be honest when knowledge impresses you then only you remember a guide’s name. Must be thinking then why I am bringing him in? Well I am saving your Rs 100 on visiting Rani Ki Vav in future.

“Sir What would you Prefer? English, Hindi, Gujarati?

“English Hindi both would be fine.”

“Okay”

“Sir, right now you are standing in Patan, a town earlier known as Anhilpur. It was the capital of Gujarat for over 600 years, Rani Ki Vav is a stepwell where you descend several steps to get to the water. It is one of the most magnificent, The Cleanest and now the UNESCO world heritage monument of India. It was built by Queen Udayamati more than 950 years ago in memory of her husband King Bhimdev I (1022-63) of the Solanki dynasty. That is how the stepwell got its name. It means Queen’s step well in Gujarati”.

 

Mr. Guide at Rani Ki Vav..How they speak so fast? They just Go on and on...
Mr. Guide at Rani Ki Vav..How they speak so fast? They just Go on and on…

 

Okay fine, enough of it, let me be honest. Must be wondering how come Tarun is able remember exact words? Well this part was recorded by Mrs in her mobile. She started recording in very excitement, but after 5 min only she got bored and whispered “Bohot Paka raha hai yaar :-))”.

By this time Mr. Guide had come to know that I am more of a photography freak, though I was listening to him as well. Focus shifted where his hand shifted. Now He was more of “Sir and Madam”.

It is said around 33 crore god’s are there in Indian mythology, for every wrong, for every favor you have one special god. But only around 500 god’s figure is carved on the walls of stepwell. You think of god and he surely would be there somewhere on some wall. The image of Vishnu reclining on the thousand-hooded serpent Sheshnag forms the focal point of the Rani Ki vav, Wish I or my camera lens could reach there

Some 1000’s of Apsara (Celestial dancers), Nagkanyas (Mythological serpent women) and Yoginis (Women who practice yoga) were also there. Wow, felt like I was standing in the middle of Indra darbar, though no apsara dancing, just some local people roaming around and those selfies.

Man someday I need to say to all “Selfie is a killer man, it irritates sometimes, I don’t understand what’s so fascination for selfie and that too when people just click themselves and forget the basic rule that background too matters”.

 

 

Grand Rani Ki Vav... Now only 5 floors left..
Grand Rani Ki Vav… Now only 5 floors left..

 

Where was this Rani Ki Vav for so long?

Day had gone by, plan was to visit Modhera Sun temple too but we knew by the time we will reach, it would dark. It is obvious, Sun temple would look best when sun is there to beautify it. Day was over but Rani Ki vav had left many doubts in our mind.

Missus was confused, How can such a big grand structure was unseen for so many centuries? I don’t know whether people would agree to this or not, but somehow the following lines are my thinking.

“The Saraswati, one of India’s seven sacred rivers, is believed to have flowed beside the vav. When the river changed its course, it flooded the vav and buried it. The vav was found by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) almost nine centuries later. ASI started excavating the site in 1958 and removed the silt and debris to recover the vav”.

 

 

Guess What? For centuries local rural people kept using this well on the one end of stepwell. Who knew such a grand structure is lying hidden somewhere beneath the earth.

Where was this structure, this Rani Ki vav for so long? Guide told, it had 7 floors, though 2 floors out of them helped restructuring a nearby stepwell. Wow, Rani ki vav came into existence and gave birth to another stepwell.

Built in 1022 year around, and still intact a bit. Somehow I was thinking Saraswati river saved it or ruined? But if I go by the past or the things which I read, it is good Saraswati river flood submerged it under the sand for more than 900 years, this is my thinking.

What if it had not been submerged? May be we wouldn’t have been witnessing such a grand structure now, though whatever is left. Around 200 years Britishers ruled our country, would they have left these Hindu idols carved on the walls. And why only Britishers, we have heard and read of many Mughals, khilji’s etc etc robbing the beauty of these structures.

Born To Live : Rani Ki Vav …

Been to many monuments of India, Heritage like Rani ki vav or not. They are the living proof of the ordeal they went in. Go for history of any other heritage of India, it is a very common thing, Guide telling you….

“Can you see this yellow color on pillars, it is the shine of gold plates which britishers took away. You see these murals, once they were figures of Indian gods and goddess, Mughals ruined them”

Now what to say, after this short visit and long post I can surely say…

जाको राखे साइयां, मार सके न कोय

Love your heritage, they are the emblems of our country.

 

 

If you have liked reading my post please feel free to like it or share it with your friends, let them also know about these Heritage places of our Incredible India Facebooktwitter and Google+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Leave A Smile .... You Just Need To COMMENT Below...