Patan is a town full of charm and charisma. One can wander inside the busy hustle bustle of the bazaars. The town has been blanketed by ancient havelis and one definitely comes across shops making rope or bidi, which is a traditional cigarette. Exploring and finding the interesting locations and spots in and around this ancient town of Patan is like a treasure hunt, fascinating and exciting. The presence of the one of a kind patola and mashru weavers, the Jain temple in white colors and the famous Hemchandracharya Jain Gnan library makes this place a must see. One catches a glimpse of the Kali temple, during ones trip to Anahilvada Patan. This is an old city which functioned as the capital of Gujarat for as many as 650 years. The Kali Mata, who is Solanki Dynasty’s family goddess, is supposed to be present in the Kali temple and it protects the town. Another of the many attractions is the Sahasralinga Talav had been constructed by Siddhraj Jaysinh in the year 1084. The name of the talav stands for “lake of thousand lingas”. It is located in the north direction of Rani ki Vav. The Rani Ki Vav is also known as the “Queen’s step-well”. The cool environment, the stone sculptures of Gods and the holiness fascinates the people as they travel down the steps of this ancient step-well.
THINGS TO SEE
Rani Ki Vav: In the year 1063, this vav, commonly known as step well, has been constructed under the commands of Rani Udayamati. It has been built in the remembrance of Solanki Dynasty’s King Bhimdev I, who was also her husband. The River Saraswati drowned this vav later. In the last phase of 1980’s, this place was covered in silt. The Archeological Survey of India later dug up this place. The carvings were also discovered in their original condition. One of the most superior step-wells in the whole of India, Rani ki Vav also represents the heritage of the old capital city.
At the level of the ground, the steps of the step-well starts. The stairs of the step-well moves you in a downward position through the blanket of cool air. The seven galleries that are present, contains as many as 800 intricate sculptures. A fine sculpture of Sheshashayi-Vishnu can be seen at the water level. In the carving, Vishnu is seen to be leaning on Sesha, a thousand-hooded snake.
Sahasralinga Talav: The Sahasralinga Talav had been constructed by Siddhraj Jaysinh in the year 1084. The name of the talav stands for “lake of thousand lingas”. It is located in the north direction of Rani ki Vav. In the place of a lake called Durlabh Sarovar, which was already present there, the Sahasralinga Talav has been built. Many a number of manmade lakes were constructed during the reign of Siddhraj Jaysinh in numerous locations of Gujarat. This lake outdoes all the other lakes in terms of artistry, technology and also religiousness. It is a reservoir. A three ringed sluice gate is present with intricate engravings on it. The water in the reservoir comes from the Saraswati River. The relics of a Shiva Temple are situated on the bed. A series of pillars, adding up to 48, are present here.
Jain temples: Many a number of Jain temples are situated in Patan. Out of all these temples, the biggest temple is the Panchasara Parshvanath Jain Derasar. This structure gives us the proof of the fact that during the Solanki time period, Patan functioned as a primary location for Jainism. It has the same features like all the other structures belonging to Jainism, like the intricate carvings of stone and the floors made of white colored marble.
Hemachandracharya Jain Gnan Mandir: Gnan Mandir has been constructed by the famous Jain bookman and a poet named Hemachandracharya. The name of the mandir stands for “knowledge temple”. It is an age old library, which contains numerous old Jain manuscripts written on palm leaves and some literatures that are composed by him. Some of the manuscripts have been composed in the ink made of gold. 10 am to 5 pm is the visiting time.
Muslim architecture: The architectures belonging to initial Muslim phase are worth visiting. Some of the attractions are the mosque of Sheikh Farid and mausoleum. They have amazing and fine carvings on their ceilings.
Mashru weavers: In the city of Patan, one can catch a glimpse of the Mashru weaving, a beautiful craft. With the aid of cotton and silk threads of bright colors, the fabric is weaved. The weave is a satin weave. Muslim men used this cloth; however as per the Law of Islam, there is a forbiddance of using pure silk, thus later people following Hindu faith, began using it later. The women of Kutchi group of people use this type of cloth in order to sew apparels for their own dowry. Also, they are traded to countries of Middle east and Turkey.
HOW TO REACH
By road: Buses ply from cities like Ahmedabad and Mehsana. From Ahmedabad, it takes 3.5 hours and from Mehsana, it takes 1 hour to reach Patan. One can also travel by share jeeps; however the ride can be an uneasy one.
By rail: Mehsana has the closest railway station. From Mehsana, bus services are available in order to reach Patan.
By air: Ahmedabad has the closest air terminal.