The 11th century stepwell Rani-ki-Vav (Queen’s stepwell) in Gujarat on 22 June 2014 was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Queen’s stepwell in Patan district of Gujarat, as a result, became the 31st World Heritage Site of India which includes 6 natural World Heritage Sites.
The decision to include Rani-ki-Vav as World Heritage Site was approved by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee Session held at Doha in Qatar.
UNESCO termed it as an exceptional masterpiece of technological development in utilizing ground water resources in a single component and water management system. It illustrates the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions. The inscription is the single most example of a step well is a testimony to the traditional water systems of India.
Earlier, the Archeological Survey of India in February 2013 nominated Rani-ki-Vav stepwell in Patan district of Gujarat for the World Heritage list.
Along with Rani-ki-Vav, three other sites from South Korea and China were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. These are
• Namhansaneong in South Korea: was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson Dynasty (1392-1910), in a mountainous site 25 kilometres south-east of Seoul.
• The Grand Canal running from Beijing to Zhejiang province in Southern China: is a vast waterway system in the north-eastern and central-eastern plains of China, running from Beijing in the north to Zhejiang province in the south. It was conceived as a unified means of communication for the Empire for the first time in the 7th century A.D (Sui Dynasty).
• The Silk Roads network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor: is a 5000 kilometre section of the extensive Silk Roads network, stretching from Chang’an/Luoyang, the central capital of China in the Han and Tang Dynasties, to the Zhetysu Region of Central Asia.
Besides, this World Heritage Committee also included Botswana’s Okavango Delta as the 1000th Wolrd Heritage Site. It has been included as the natural site on the World Heritage Site list. Also, Myanmar made its entry onto the World Heritage List with the inscription of its first site, Pyu Ancient Cities.
About Rani-ki-Vav stepwell
• Rani-ki-Vav is a large and complex stepwell with seven levels of stairs with ornamented panels of sculptures and relief representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.
• It is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was built as a memorial to King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty
• The ornamented panels that comprises of about 500 principle sculptures and over 1000 minor ones combines religious, mythological and secular imagery
• It is a unique example of Indian subterranean architectural structure and marks zenith in the evolution of stepwells in India and is the single most example of a stepwell as a testimony to traditional water systems of India
When: 22 June 2014