Patan , Gujarat Jan 28 , 2012 Sat 8 : 01 PM
Patan, Gujarat a good 3 hr drive from Ahmedabad one of the main cities of this state, and this step well. Enormous, incredible carving and even more incredible the concept. The rounded portion is the well and instead of dropping a rope down to collect the water, they built steps to get down to the bottom or the face of the water and each step is an entire floor or platform ornately built in some of the most incredible carvings that I have ever seen. The Solanki Kings built it around the AD 1022 and it remained buried in earth for centuries until some Western travelers saw a small protrusion of one of the arches and started digging to unveil this work of absolute genius. Each step is large enough to house and entire metro city high rise floor, sheltered from above by roof and space enough for travelers to rest and spend several days by the water. Because the way down was steep and difficult to maneuver with the bucket of water that was procured, resting on the heads of the ladies that collected it, the steps to the step platform was made diagonally and in several directions to ease the climb. They say the best way to climb mountains without getting too tired is to walk up diagonally. We used to try that in Sherwood, Nainital to much effect. Walk a few steps diagonally for some distance and then change direction to the reverse diagonal and climb again, almost zig-zag in design !
But this Rani ni Vav, or translated, the Queens Well, Vav in Gujarati means well, is an unbelievable sight. The carvings are so intricate that one does not ever want to leave the place. Not a single space is left undone and each space having a distinct design and story !!
Patan too is the place where they make the famous Patola sari. It is a craft that takes almost 3-4 years to create one sari and it is all done by hand. Many foreigners have tried to take the craft to their land and to industrialize it through machines, but it has never worked. There are just a handful of families left that make these exquisite saris and they pride themselves in being so.
This has been a great revelation and every effort to maintain this great inheritance must be exercised. The civilized world shall always hold us in judgement and hold us responsible if we did not.
But it really teaches us that centuries from now, when humanity shall come across what we leave behind in this era and age, would it live up to the standards that we see now in these ancient discoveries ..?
A thought maybe to go to sleep with and to think ..