The Queen's Stepwell at Patan
75 colour and 136 b/w figures and 26 plans
In the arid region of Gujarat and Rajasthan with scarce rain, a highly original architectural form developed, that of the stepwell, that is, a well with a long flight of steps leading down to the water's edge. The steps did not remain as a mere adjunct to the well, but increased in complexity. Structural necessity to hold back the loose earth, coupled with the builder's Jove of the ornate, transformed the flight of steps into an elaborate stairway, with many pillared pavilions demarcating the stages and with many storeys on successive pavilions. The Ranki Vav, or the Queen's Stepwell, at Patan, the old capital of Gujarat, was built by Udayamati in memory of her husband late in the eleventh century. The monument was planned on an ambitious scale, over two hundred feet in length, with a draw well nearly one hundred feet deep, and was furnished with no fewer than eight hundred sculptures. The present work is concerned with the architecture, statuary, style and chronology of the Queen's Stepwell. The method of construction is also considered to enable the reader to understand better this unique architectural form. Twenty - six large drawings, specially commissioned, and 211 colour and black - and - white photographs, illustrate the book.
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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY M POSTEL
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adorned apsard apsard Fig Archaeological Survey architectural ascetic attributes Balarama Barot beard Bhairava bracing structure brackets Brahma built buttresses carved central niche consort Fig corner block corridor deities Dhaky discus divine couple eleventh century facing the east facing the south feet fly-whisk four hands four-armed fourth pavilion Ganesa gesture goddess Fig Gujarat hair is arranged head IIIrd terrace IInd incarnations Isana IVth jatd Kalki karanda Kubera lotus lotuses lower storeys mace Matrka metres Modhera monument natural right hand ndgakanyd ornaments pair Parvati Patan Photo pitcher queen Queen's stepwell Rajasthan rear regent river or snake rows sculptures second pavilion Sesa side frames sinistral Siva skull-cup slabs standing river stele steps stepwell stone Survey of India tank temple third pavilion third stage three snake hoods torana ture Udayamati upper vacant niches Vamana varada Varuna Vasus VIIth Visnu VIth Vth storey Vth terrace wall facing