26 December 2011
Continued from Modhera Sun Temple.
From Modhera we started towards Patan in North Gujarat. This distance of about 35 km was quickly covered. On the outskirts of Patan we found a nice looking restaurant and we went for having lunch. The good served was good. One good thing (for me!!) in Gujarat is that it is highly vegetarian state. Majority of Hotels serve only pure vegetarian food. Jain food, which is a strict form of vegetarian food, is also found at many places.
Another striking difference of Gujarat against other states is the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol. The ban is in force from last 50 years. This was a way to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi who hailed from Gujarat. I also heard that there is death penalty for making and selling spurious liquor!! I am no expert to say whether alcohol ban is bad or we have limited the great leader to just one state!! But it is nice to see the roads free of drunkards shouting and falling into pits. People may still drink illegally but then they have to confine themselves behind the walls. And crime rate is said to be lower than other states.
Sorry for digression. Coming back to the main topic, Patan was the capital of Medieval Gujarat. An interesting point is that Mahmud Ghori was defeated by King of Gujarat. The King Raja Bhimdev Solanki II was very young and the army was commanded by his Mother Naikidevi. The defeat in 1178 AD was so heavy on Mahmud Ghori that he never returned to Gujarat. The King defeated Qutb al-din Aibek in 1197 AD.
Today, the main tourist attraction is the stepwell “Rani Ki Wav”. It is said to have been constructed by Udayamati, the queen of Bhimdeva-I in 11th century AD. The Wav (Well) is about 64 meters long, 20 meters wide and 27 meters deep. It has a pillared multi-storeyed pavilion, a drawn well and a large tank for collection surplus water.
The ornamental work in the wav shows its architectural brilliance and elegance. There are beautifully carved sculptures of Mahishasura Madhini, Parvathi, Shiva, Vishnu etc.
But this beautiful piece of architecture was buried for centuries and has suffered damages. Till 1960’s nobody knew about its existence as the well was completely filled up except top.
ASI has done a great job in excavating and preserving this monument.
There is also a 30 km tunnel built that leads to Sidhpur town nearby. People are not allowed there and there is a high chance that it might be blocked after unused for several hundred years.
Patan is also famous for Patola sarees!!
From Patan, we started back to Ahmedabad 110 km away. We went to IIM-A where my college roommate Shiva stays. After a brief tour and dinner at the campus, we headed to the railway station. Rest of the trip would be in Saurastra!!