The Sun Temple & Queen's Step-well
17.12.2008 30 °C
I live in the beauty called India.
My cousin had come to visit me here in Ahmedabad from US after almost 10 years . So we decided to take her to some ancient place near Ahmedabad. None better than the Sun temple at Modhera and 'Rani-ki-vav' ( Queen's Stepwell ) which is situated in Patan, a two hour ride from here and listed among UNESCO's World Heritage list.
I had only heard about these places till i got to see the etheral beauty for myself.
The above photo is myself in front of the beautifully carved pillars of the Sun temple.
The Sun temple was built by King Bhimdev of Solanki dynasty ( Solanki means descendants of Sun God) in 1026 AD. The temple is designed in such a way that the sun’s first rays fall on the image of the Sun God. The temple has beautiful carvings and standing in front of this edifice was overwhelming.
Before i go into its history i must explain what a Stepwell ('Vav' in gujarati) means ! Centuries ago Gujarat used to be (some part still is) very dry. Water was a commodity. So people in ancient India found out an intelligent way of tackling this problem. Instead of building a simple WELL from which water could be drawn with a bucket, they decided to build a STEP-WELL where people themselves could easily walk down to get water. Only Kings could afford to embark on such expensive projects. These stepwells have intricate carvings which tell stories from Indian epics, Indian Gods & also about the future.
My favourite piece of art was the below one – it is said in Hindu tradition that whenever evil reaches its pinnacle on earth, God Vishnu takes birth to purify human beings. This sculpture tells of the birth of Lord Vishnu as a horse ( Kalki avatar) in our age when the human mind has reached the worst ever in thought and action !!
This particular Stepwell was built by Queen (Rani) Udaymati of Solanki dynasty as a memorial to her husband King (Raja) Bhimdev-I around 1022-1063 AD. But when the Muslim Kings (Mughals) from Afghanistan attacked Gujarat, the hindu kings had to bury this huge Stepwell in the soil to save it from the destructive Muslim Kings. And then only recently in the late 1960's this stepwell was stumbled upon by two shepherds.
At the end of it all i felt glad that such a beautiful piece of art was preserved for us to see.