Patan-based 11thcentury stepwell Rani-ki-Vav has been approved as a World Heritage site by UNESCO on Sunday, while describing it as an “exceptional example of technological development” in utilising ground water resources.
“Stepwell Rani-ki-Vav has been approved for inscription on the World Heritage list. The recognition was granted by the UNESCO at the World Heritage Committee Session currently on at Doha, Qatar,” the Culture Ministry said in Delhi on Sunday.
“UNESCO has recognised this masterpiece as an exceptional example of technological development in utilising ground water resources in a single component – a water management system — and it illustrates the exceptional capacity to break large spaces into smaller volumes following ideal aesthetic proportions,” it said in a statement.
Rani-ki-Vav, a unique kind of Indian subterranean architectural structure, marks the zenith in the evolution of stepwells in India, it said, adding that it is a particularly large and complex example of a stepwell with seven storeys of ornamented panels and relief representing the height of the Maru-Gurjara style.
Following the flooding and disappearance of the Saraswati River due to geo-tectonic changes, the property was buried under layers of silt for almost seven centuries and has been preserved underneath in an exceptional state of conservation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It was nominated by ASI for the World Heritage list of UNESCO in February last year.
There are already 30 World Heritage sites in India, 24 cultural sites and six natural properties. Gujarat’s Rani-ki-Vav will be the 31st such site in the country. Chief Minister Anandi Patel welcomed the decision of conferring the world heritage site status on Rani-ki-Vav and added that it was one more proud achievement for Gujarat. Calling the decision a historic one, Patel also thanked the UNESCO for it. Patel also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his guidance in the matter.
(With PTI inputs)