Rani-ki-Vav

Top choice historic site in Patan

The only real sign of Patan’s former glory is this astoundingly beautiful step-well. Built in 1063 by Rani Udayamati to commemorate her husband, Bhimdev I, the step-well is the oldest and finest in Gujarat and is remarkably preserved. Steps lead down through multiple levels, with lines of carved pillars and more than 800 sculptures, mostly on Vishnu-avatar themes, as well as striking geometric patterns.

You can only descend the steps of one half of the step-well.

There are many remarkable sculptures on the walls and pillars, including some representing the Buddha, as well as saddhus, apsaras (celestial dancers) and priests. Right down in the depths of the well, ask someone to point out the carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, sleeping through the infinity between ages.

Inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list in 2014, the step-well is set in a large, landscaped park in the northwest corner of the city. It's signposted.


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