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Old 5th July 2010, 15:47   #1
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Lightbulb 'Xing'ing around ! - Vav, Vav... Wow!

* Vav = Step-well.

Sangeetha was here during the weekend of 26th & 27th June 2010. We took some time off to visit a couple of places in and around Ahmedabad.

26th June 2010
Places covered - Adalaj, Modhera, Patan, Sidhpur
Mode of transport - Hired a cab for the whole day and distance covered was 318 kms.

27th June 2010
Places covered - A couple of spots in Ahmedabad old city
Mode of transport - By Autos or by walk.


Route map for places covered on the 26th:
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Once upon a time, when Doordarshan was the only channel on TV, I had seen a Gujarati movie on a Sunday afternoon. It was Ketan Mehta's "Bhavni Bhavai"- starring Naseeruddin Shah & Smita Patil. Based on a Gujarati folk tale, some significant scenes from the movie were shot in a step-well, the images of which remained etched in my memory.

One fine day I chanced upon our Ramkya1 Sir's travelogue about his visit to Modhera, Patan etc. Saw the pics and I could connect the dots... the step-well I remembered from the movie was probably the 'Rani Ki Vav' in Patan! Added it to my to-see list for some day.

Time rolled on and I got into IIMA and now Ahmedabad will be my base for the next one year. When Sangeetha was planning to visit Ahd, I spoke to her about the Vav and we decided to go check out the place.

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Started from the Campus at around 6.15am on the 26th of June 2010. There wasn't any traffic at that hour, so we were in Adalaj in about 30 - 40 minutes...

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We were not sure if the place would be open at that time... if it was closed, we planned to visit the well either on our way back or some other time. (It is just around 20+ kms from campus, so we could have planned a visit any time.)

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Luckily the place was open! Since people come to the well to perform Puja, looks like the Vav is open all through...

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It is an amazing place... we spent almost 1.5 hours exploring the area and wondering at the effort that must have gone in to build such a place...

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Quote:
The Adalaj step-well is a popular tourist attraction of the city and is situated 18 km. south of Gandhinagar. The well was built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai. The step well or Vav, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is several stories in depth. The designs on its walls and pillars include leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breath-taking ornamental designs. In the past, these step wells were frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes
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Two spiral staircases lead down to the balconies around the well-shaft...

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The second well shaft in the complex...

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Fish - A traditional Indian symbol for water...

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By the way, be a little careful while walking down the spiral staircase, you'll find plenty of bats hanging from the sides and the ceiling...

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Came out of the complex and took a walk around the complex before moving on...

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I read somewhere that these are graves of some of the folks who built the well...

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We hit the highway towards Mehsana, stopped at a hotel on the way for breakfast...

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Gujarat has great roads... should get my car to Ahmedabad sometime soon...

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Next stop was to see the incredibly beautiful Sun-temple at Modhera. Wikipedia says
Quote:
The Sun Temple was built by Raja Bhimdev I of Solanki Dynasty in AD 1026. This was the time when Somnath and the adjoining area was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni and reeled under the effects of his invasion.

The Solankis, however, regained much of their lost power and splendour. Anahilvad Patan, the Solanki capital, was restored to glory. Royalty and traders jointly contributed to build grand temples...
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Contd...
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Old 5th July 2010, 15:51   #2
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Beautiful photos of the sun temple you have got there. What's the wide angle you've used in photo 24?
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Old 5th July 2010, 16:06   #3
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Lightbulb Adalaj Modhera Patan Sidhpur Ahmedabad

The idol from the Garbagriha is long gone, apparently destroyed during one of Allauddin Khilji's raids on the temple. This 1886 pen & ink drawing of a sculpture on the temple's panels probably indicates what the idol would have looked like.

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Courtesy: British Library


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Time and nature have taken their toll on the temple. The intricate details of most of the statues are being eroded away...

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Hmmm... Spying on us eh?

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The temple is also home to quite a few birds, squirrels and wasps? (They don’t look like bees do they?)

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Clean up first > check out the surroundings > find a comfortable position > curl up and > ZZZZ...

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Took some more pics from in and around the temple...

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Throughout out trip, we came across a number of colourful birds... looks like Gujarat is a bird watcher's paradise.

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Next on, we headed towards Patan...

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The Sahasraling Talav at Patan.
Quote:
Siddhraj Jaysinh built the reservoir Sahasralinga Talav, meaning "lake of a thousand lingas”, just north of Rani Ki Vav in 1084, over a lake originally known as Durlabh Sarovar, built by the King of Durlabhray. During his rule he had many artificial tanks built in different parts of Gujarat, but this one surpasses all the others, technologically, artistically, and spiritually.

Like in Rani Ki Vav, the architecture represents the integration of careful water management with the sanctity of water. Of the 7-hectare spread of ruins only 20 percent has been unearthed, excavated in 1942-43, and though it was destroyed three times in attacks, its splendour is still evident.

There is a finely carved three-ringed sluice gate that channelled water from the Saraswati river into the reservoir, and it is said that the lake had inbuilt natural filtration.

The reservoir contains elaborate sculptures of deities and impressive columns that once supported a ceiling. On the banks were the remains of a Shiva temple with a colonnade of forty-eight pillars, and numerous small temples of Shiva and Parvati.
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By the time we were ready to leave the Sahasraling Talav, it was way past lunch time and we were ravenously hungry. We went back into Patan town and found a hotel for a quick hot lunch.

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Bought some dates to munch on...and headed towards the 'Rani Ki Vav'.

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Some more colourful birds on the lawns around Rani Ki Vav...

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Contd...
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Old 5th July 2010, 16:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Beautiful photos of the sun temple you have got there.
Thank you @MX6

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
What's the wide angle you've used in photo 24?
No lens. Just took the pix in Panorama mode and stitched them together. Need to buy a fish-eye lens sometime soon.
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Old 5th July 2010, 16:22   #5
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great photos. And the stitching is not apparent. It looked more like the effect of a fish eye due to the visual distortion it brought to the photo.
This is indeed hotstuff! And the pic of the chameleon is a prized catch.
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Old 5th July 2010, 16:57   #6
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Hotstuff,

Excellent snap as usual. Have always followed your "xinging" louges and have been a fan. Good coverage of the place. Excellent Architecture I must say. Incredible India indeed..
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Old 5th July 2010, 17:02   #7
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Very nice snaps! Was really taken aback seeing our ancestor popping out between two of the temple snaps!

Great captures!
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Old 5th July 2010, 17:05   #8
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Lightbulb Adalaj Modhera Patan Sidhpur Ahmedabad

The 'Rani Ki Vav' is one of the most intricately built step-wells in India...

'Xing'ing around ! - Vav, Vav... Wow!-60.jpg


Can be called an 'Underground Palace!'...

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The Rani-Ki-Vav has also been submitted into the UNESCO list of world heritage monuments. (Tentative) Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen's Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

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Another 'must do' for anyone visiting Patan, check out one of the Patola weaving workshops in the area. Looks like it is a dying art form and might probably be gone in a couple of decades. More about Patola on this link: Patan Patola- the ancient art of double ikat weaving

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Throughout the day, we kept bumping into a group of students from the NID (National Institute of Design), who were visiting the same places as we were. The group was led by Mr.Yatin Pandya, an architect.

We were enquiring with him about the other significant places around the area that were worth visiting and he mentioned that their next stop was at a place called Sidhpur. Even Ramkya Sir had mentioned about the place, so we decided to head that way next.

One of the interesting aspects about Sidhpur is the unique architecture of the 100s of houses belonging to the Bohra community.

Mr.Yatin had already sought permission to visit a couple of houses and he gracefully allowed us to tag along with his group.

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A 'Rail' gola!

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It was quite late into the evening when we bid goodbye to Sidhpur and headed back to Ahmedabad.

'Xing'ing around ! - Vav, Vav... Wow!-86.jpg


Contd...
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Old 5th July 2010, 17:11   #9
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The only other crisp architectures that I have seen are the Belur/Halebid temples!

Beautiful.
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Old 5th July 2010, 17:19   #10
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Lightbulb Adalaj Modhera Patan Sidhpur Ahmedabad

Next day was for Ahmedabad local sightseeing. The first place we went to was the 'Tankshal ni haveli'.

I had seen photos of this haveli in a newspaper article a few months ago and had been trying to track down the exact location. Finally managed to figure out the address and we landed up in Kalupur that morning.

Waiting for the guy with the keys to the haveli to open it up for us...

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The USP of this haveli is that it is probably the one that has the longest wooden facade among the numerous wooden haveli's of Ahmedabad.

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It was renovated and was being used as a school till recently...

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Very intricate woodwork...

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The previous owner of the Haveli...

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Old city has a number of shops selling all sorts of colourful laces and stuff...

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Next stop was the Jami masjid...

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The Badshah's Hazira was our next stop...

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Then came the Rani Ki Hazira of course :-)

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Looks like the place is in private possession and they have turned into a utility and storage area. Not worth visiting anyway.

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Contd...
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Old 5th July 2010, 17:31   #11
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Lightbulb Adalaj Modhera Patan Sidhpur Ahmedabad

Smile please ladies...

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Hmmm...

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Next stop was the Jaali-wali mosque. I.e. the Sidi-sayeed mosque...

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By the time we were ready to leave, it was around 2.00pm and we headed to the 'Mangaldas Ni Haveli' heritage hotel for lunch. This place is on the other side of the road from the Sidi-sayeed mosque.

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After all the walking around we had done, we had worked up a good appetite and the Gujarati thaali was indeed a tasty experience...

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A little bit of shopping in the curio shop and a few pix later, we were ready to call it a day and head back to campus.

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So many more places to cover.. so little time. Hmmm... That was all for this round. Will find some free weekend sometime soon to cover a few more interesting places.


--------------------------------------------------------
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Old 5th July 2010, 19:15   #12
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Wow wow Vav!!!

You have taken some great shots. I have already written on Narendra Modi's site and shared your threads. AB is the face of Gujara tourism, but Ahd needs a special focus.

In their series - Ahmedabad: Towards World Heritage City, TOI ran a series of articles about Ahmedabad's heritage and most of them were eye openers. I should have kept the cuttings. I will get to them using the epaper archives.

And anyone going to Ahd should sample food at Agashiye (Mangaldas Ni Haveli) - try for dinner. This post has some pictures from my visit to Agashiye (4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore)

Last edited by akbaree : 5th July 2010 at 19:21.
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Old 5th July 2010, 19:39   #13
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Indeed cool stuff, Hotstuff!!

The richness of heritage in our country is great and varies across geographies from south-north and east-west.

Thanks to my better half, since the past 3 years, It is my responsibility to visit Rajkot and make my wife happy as she hails form this place.

Started to realise that the roads in Guj were indeed better while I also got a chance to tour Modhera,Sun Temple & Adalaj, Stepwell last year.

The kathiawad and Saurashtra region of Gujarat have some amazing places of heritage which talk a tale about themselves.

Awesome travelogue!!!
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Old 5th July 2010, 19:48   #14
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looks like another good one from hotstuff
subscribing to read while at the airport 4 days from now.
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Old 5th July 2010, 20:11   #15
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Wonderful pics Hotstuff. Captures the true essence of the place.
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