The Reserve Bank of India will soon issue a new Rs 100 note in lavender colour having a motif of ‘Rani ki vav’ on the reverse, replacing the Goecha La, Kanchenjunga’s southeast face. “The new denomination has motif of ‘Rani ki vav’ on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage,” the RBI said. For the uninitiated, Rani ki vav is a stepwell in Gujarat’s Patan district and is a major tourist attraction. Constructed during the 11th century by Rani Udayamati as a memorial to her husband, Bhima I of the Chaulukya or Solanki dynasty, Rani ki vav was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014.
Located on the banks of the Sabarmati river, the sculpture, which epitomises the peak of Maru-Gujarat architectural style, is not only a distinctive form of water resource and storage system but also is a testatment of unique craftsmanship and complex technique. The vav or baoli is designed to appear like an inverted temple, signifying the sanctity of water. It was believed that the waters of the vav could cure people of many ailments. This apparently was due to the herbs found in and around the complex.
There are 500 sculptures and over a thousand smaller ones combining religious, mythological and secular imagery as well as references to literary works. Sculptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his various forms like Kalki, Rama, Krishna, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi can be seen here.
When Rani ki Vav was originally built, it had seven stories. However, only five can be seen at present. The fourth is the deepest and leads to a rectangular tank located at the westernmost end of the complex at a depth of 23 metres. The stepwell is 60 metre-long and 20 metre in breadth. There is a 30 km long tunnel that leads to the town of Siddhpur and was used for safe passage during war or invasion.