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|Rani-ki-Vav, Patan, Gujarat|
Rani-ki-Vav, a magnificent step well, at Patan is said to been constructed by Queen Udayamati wife of King Bhimadeva I (A.D. 1022-1063). This is the highest watermark of Solanki architecture. It is 64 m long and 20 m wide. It was originally constructed of seven stories of which only five are now preserved. The shaft of this step well is 27 m deep. The step is oriented in east-west directions. The step well has long stepped corridor descending down to the underground tank, it is having four compartmental multi-storeyed pillared pavilions with circular draw well at rear end. The corridor walls, pillared pavilions and inner side of well are embellished with fine sculptures. Nearly 400 sculptures have survived out of the original estimated 800 sculptures, which comprise of Hindu gods and goddesses, apsaras and miscellaneous themes.
The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers), painting their lips and adorning themselves. At water level you come to a carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, where it is said he rests in the infinity between ages. The steps begin at ground level, leading down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below.