Once the capital of Gujarat, during the medieval period, Patan today stands as a testimony of that bygone era. Patan was a fortified city built by Vanraj Chavda, a king of the Chavda Kingdom of the Chalukya Rajputs, during the 8th century. The city was also known as Anhilwad Patan as it was named after Anahil, the shepherd friend of King Vanraj.
The present-day city stands amidst the ruins of a kingdom which was once devastated by the Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aibak. As a result of the Muslim aggression, Patan has some Muslim architectures those are even older than the ones in Ahmedabad. Ravaged by time and plundered for religion and riches, very little of the city’s earlier glory remains now.
Today, Patan is celebrated the world over for its exquisite Patola silk sarees. Patola sarees are one of the finest hand-made textiles in the world. One can see this exquisite fabric being woven here. The Patan Patola is one of the finest hand-woven textiles produced the world over. Also known as the double Ikat, it is woven only in Bali, Indonesia besides Patan. One can see this exquisite fabric being woven here.
Read on to find out the top 6 tourist destinations in the town on Patan.
1. Rani Ka Vav
Rani Ka Vav or ‘Queen’s Stepwell’ is a unique step well located in the small town of Gujarat called Patan. Located on the banks of River Saraswati, it is not only a distinctive form of water resource and storage system but also represents a unique craftsmanship.
Believed to be the grandest step well in the state of Gujarat, Rani ka Vav was constructed during 1063 to 1068 AD by the widowed Queen Udaymati. Recently listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 22nd June 2014, this subterranean step well epitomises the peak of Maru-Gujarat architectural style.
The well, apart from working as the water storage system, is also known for its intricately carved sculptures that numbers around five hundred surpassing all other such architecture. Numerous sculptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his various forms like Kalki, Rama, Krishna, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi can be seen here. In addition to this, Rani Ka Vav was an important centre for socializing among the locals as well.
2. Sahastralinga Talav
Situated in the north west of Patan, this is an artificial water storage tank constructed by the Chalukyan king Sidharaj Jai Singh in the late eleventh century. The tank gets water supply by a channel from river Sarasvati. Back then the tank would be brimming with water, the architectural design of the tank is praised for being the perfect amalgamation of design for water conservation and also reflection of the Hindu spirituality. It is said that due a curse by a beautiful woman from the tank diggers community, the king died without a heir and the tank remains devoid of water ever since. It is said that there existed a lot of shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses by the side of the tank, today however, there are just remains. When you visit the place, make sure you read the tourism boards and listen to the version of the locals to know about the stories which do the round about this place.
3. Patan Gate
f you want to transcend into the world that existed some centuries ago, then you have to step through the Patan Gate. Patan’s Golden Gate is the entryway to the Patan Museum. The gate, which was installed almost three centuries ago is a gilded gateway with windows made from gold foil wrapped around timber frame. The major highlight of this gate is the pediment that’s made of gold. The pediment shows Shiva, Parvati, Kumar and Ganesha through excellent carvings. The gate, which has a window in gold was once used by the king to make public appearances. Today, this gate marks the entrance into the world of a bygone era. The museum that comes after the gate is known for its artifacts and displays from all over the world.
4. Jain Temples
There are as many as 100 and more temples in Patan dedicated to various gods of Jains. The most famous of these is Mahavir Swami Derasar in Dhnadherwad. This temple is known for its beautifully engraved wooden dome. Among the other temples, the famous ones are Kalika Mata, Sidhwai Mata, Brahmakund. Hemachandra Gyan mandir stores many ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit and Prakrit, Hemachandra was a great scholar and is said to be the key man in formulating grammar for Guajarati. The Shankheshwar Jain Temple is located in the center of Shankheshwar town of Patan. The temple is dedicated to Parshwanath and is one of the most important pilgrim destinations.
5. Khan Sarovar
Located in the southern part of Patan, Khan sarovar is a water reservoir constructed using stones from ruined structures, by Khan Mirza Aziz Kokah, the then governor of Gujarat. Created somewhere around 1886-1890, the large water tank is square in shape, and measure 1228 by 1273 feet. It is separated only by pillars of Hindu workmanship, and the tank contains stone steps and masonry on all four sides along with the outflow of waste-weir. Thus, the water is prevented from rising above a certain height during the rainy season.
6. Patola Saree Making Unit
The beautiful hand-woven Patola Sarees are famous worldwide and Patan is said to be the home of Patola artists. It is one of the most sought after possession for women. It takes a lot of time from starting to finish a patola saree. Lot of time, intricate work, hand-woven, all of this together contribute to raising the price of a Patola which mostly starts from 20,000 and goes up to several lakhs depending on the work done and thread used. It would be an interesting experience to visit the unit and see how work is done, may be have a word with the artists and buy a couple of sarees.
These were a few of the famous destinations in Patan which are sure to attract all kinds of tourists. So before waiting for another good opportunity, plan your trip soon and visit this beautiful and historic town soon. Experience the beauty Gujarat has to offer.