Stepwell

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Aditya Dhanapal
India's water wealth and its importance in stories, rituals and myths point to the significance of waterbodies in the history of the subcontinent. This module focuses on the traditional water systems of India and their histories. It consists of an overview, followed by an article on the traditional…
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Nandini Thilak
Rajasthan, home to India’s desert tracts and the Great Indian Thar Desert, is also known for its rich water architecture. From simple wells and tanks that dot villages to ornate lakes commissioned by the elite, the elaborate, interconnected water architecture of this region once transformed the…
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Hanoz Patel
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Akshita Raina
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Jutta Jain-Neubauer
Rani ki Vav is one of the most unique and exceptional stepwells in the world. Nowhere do we have a stepwell of the kind of monumentality Rani ki Vav has. Rani ki Vav is situated in Patan, in north Gujarat. It is nowadays a small town in northern Gujarat, but in earlier times it was the capital of…
in Interview
Kirit Mankodi
The style of the architecture and sculpture place Rani ki Vav squarely in the last years of the 11th century. This fact is also confirmed by the Jaina pontiff Merutuṅga in his work Prabandhacintāmaṇi (‘Wishing Stone of Narratives’) from 1304 CE. The Prabandhacintāmaṇi is a historical account, where…
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Kirit Mankodi
The Rani ki Vav or ‘Queen’s stepwell’ is situated in Patan, which was the medieval capital of the Solanki empire, located 125 km north of Ahmedabad. The stepwell, a sacred memorial built entirely below ground level, is one of India’s unique contributions to the architectural heritage of the world,…
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Kirit Mankodi
  Rani ki Vav is replete with sculptures that symbolize water and fertility. There are hundreds of sculptures of young celestial women, known as apsarās, surasundarīs or nāyikās; of god Viṣṇu as Nārāyaṇa and personifications of the river goddesses.   Apsarās/Nāyikās   The walls of the corridor and…
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Kirit Mankodi
During the rule of the Solankis (also known as the Chalukyas) in Gujarat, many grand monuments were built between the 11th and the 12th centuries CE. The surviving monuments include temples at Somnath, Modhera, Sidhpur Patan, reservoirs such as the Sahasraliṅga Talav at Patan Anhilwad, and…
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Jain-Neubauer, J. 1999. The Stepwells of Gujarat. India International Centre Quarterly, 26.2:75–80.   Mankodi, K. 1991. The Queen’s Stepwell at Patan. Bombay: Franco-Indian Research Pvt. Ltd.   ———. 2012. Rani Ki Vav at Pattan. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.   Pandya, S. 2005. 'Who…
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