Post the demonetization in 2016, the Indian government have been releasing a new set of currency notes. Apart from the 2000 rupee currency note, which showcases the Mangalyaan space satellite on the back, all the other new currency notes showcase the various UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India. This is a nice way to promote our rich heritage and boost tourism. I am pretty sure that you would have noticed these heritage sites on our currency notes, but not sure if you recognize their important status in our country’s rich heritage and tourism.
The new Rs 100 note is part of the new design series rolled out after demonetisation. Before this, the Rs 10 note was redesigned to feature the motif of Konark Sun Temple, Rs 200 to display the motif of Sanchi Stupa, and Rs 50 to feature the motif of Stone Chariot in Hampi. So, what is Rani ki Vav?
A ‘vav’ is a stepwell, much like baolis or baoris. Stepwells are water storage systems that were first constructed in the 3rd millennium BC and were subsequently adopted by different dynasties and kingdoms over the centuries. They were designed to make water-storage areas, resembling ponds or wells, accessible by descending flights of steps. The ruins of these stepwells can still be found across the Indian subcontinent, including many parts of Western and Northern India.
Located on the banks of River Saraswati, Rani ki Vav was built by Rani Udayamati as a memorial to her husband, the 11th century-king Bhima I of the Chaulukya or Solanki dynasty, who ruled parts of present-day Gujarat. As per UNESCO, Rani Ki Vav displays the “height of craftsmen’s ability in stepwell construction”. Made in the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, the vav is not only intricately designed and beautiful, it also reflects complex technique and mastery of craftsmanship.
The vav is designed to appear like an inverted temple, signifying the sanctity of water. There are 500 primary sculptures and over a thousand small ones combining religious, mythological and secular imagery as well as references to literary works.
There is a 30 km long tunnel that leads to the town of Siddhpur and was used for safe passage during war or invasion. It was believed that bathing in the waters of the vav could cure people of many ailments. This “magical” quality of the vav’s water was apparently due to the herbs found in and around the complex.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2014, Rani ki Vav, in the current district of Patan in Gujarat, was added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) nominated it for the title. “Unesco has recognised this masterpiece as an exceptional example of technological development in utilizing ground water resources in a single component, water management system and it illustrates the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions,” a statement by UNESCO mentioned.
The ancient stepwell was built in the 11th century and is an example of a unique Indian subterranean architectural structure. Its seven storeys of ornamented panels of sculptures and relief represent the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.
In 2016, Rani Ki Vav was awarded the ‘cleanest iconic place’ in India title.Thus , RBI unveiled the new 100 rupee note with the new features – motif of Rani ki vav from Gujarat , Swacch barath slogan and logo .