The Queen’s Step Well, Patan, India

The Queen’s Step Well (Rani-ki-Vav), Patan, Gujerat, India, late 11th century. 

Among the things to miss in a lifetime of not being in India is the sacralization of life in its totality and in its details and the extraordinary artistic and artisanal work in which this is reflected.

  This step well  (vav in Gujerati and baoli in Hindi) is a water conservation system.  It was designed as an inverted temple to designate the sanctity of water. 

The Queen’s Stepwell was designated a UNESCO heritage site in 2014.  The words below are UNESCO’s and the photos were taken in 2010.

 

 

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“Rani-ki-Vav, on the banks of the Saraswati River, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC.

 

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“They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture. Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions.

 

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“……it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank…”

 

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“More than five hundred principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works……. The figurative motifs and sculptures, and the proportion of filled and empty spaces, provide the stepwell’s interior with its unique aesthetic character.

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“The figurative motifs and sculptures, and the proportion of filled and empty spaces, provide the stepwell’s interior with its unique aesthetic character.”

 

 

 

 

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