The Wonderwell

We used to wonder what interesting places does the dry and arid western plains of India has to offer. The mere thinking in itself was wrong. A little research on the internet motivated us to plan a one-day trip to Patan district.

A drive close to 3 hours and a little search through the lanes of Patan lead us to the World Heritage site of ‘Rani ki Vav’, a step well from the Solanki dynasty discovered barely 60 years ago.The beautiful sculptures of Shiva, Vishnu and Mahishasuramardini leaves you spellbound. The mere idea of this step-well makes us speechless. The step well is actually a pool for the Queen and her maids to entertain and spend time in the hot summers. Each level of the well is carefully planned and carved. A closer look at the sculptures will speak stories about Indian mythology. The world famous Patola sarees derive their design inspiration from these step wells. You can also visit the saree weaving museum to see this in plain view.

It is believed that water is drawn from River Saraswathi (which has dried out completely now). When the rains flood this river, the step well is filled with water.

Kudos to the archeological department of India for maintaining the place so well after the discovery. The lawn and garden nearby will give you no clue about the step-well unless you are there! This sure deserves the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag.

Another wonder was the Sun-temple at Modhera (Not Motera, famous for cricket ground). The tank (again carefully planned symmetric like Hampi) has water all through the year. That’s a wonder considering the 40C+ temperatures during summer! The temple has attracted movie makers from all over the country. The light show after sunset is a must watch, where the sun-temple glitters in all its glory. The fact that each step in the pond is identical in scale and constructed so uniformly, left us spellbound. Without modern machines, the calculations , construction and efforts carried out by the architects in those days deserve our respect.

You can spend a good 1-2 hours based on your interest in ancient architecture. A place I would love to go again!

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