Rani ki Vav: The Twelve Gauris

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Published on: 20 July 2018

Kirit Mankodi

Prof. Kirit Mankodi studied Archaeology for his MA and PhD. He is attached to the Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Mumbai. He is the author of 'The Queen's Step Well at Patan', and other publications.

Many inscriptions and oral tradition testify to the practice of digging wells in memory of dead relatives. Udayamati constructed her stepped well as a memorial, following a practice sanctioned by tradition. As many as 15 images of Śaiva Devīs, who may be regarded as members of the Twelve Gaurīs (Dvādaśagaurī), who are at the centre of a cult exclusive to women, are present now. We can imagine that Udayamati in portraying Pārvatī, separated from Śiva and practising austerities for reunion with him, was referring to her own tragic widowhood, and her own yearning for a reunion with Bhīmadeva.


These photographs were taken by Dr. Kirit Mankodi for the the Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Mumbai.