Information on Patan :
Patan is an ancient fortified town, situated about 130 kms. north west of Ahmedabad, on the banks of the sacred Saraswati river. This town was founded by the Vanraj Chavda in 746 AD and enjoyed a privileged status of the capital of Gujarat, for about 600 years, before being sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024. The urban structure of the town is made of several places known as Pols. These towns contain old beautiful houses with carved wooden facades in traditional Gujarati architectural style. The town of Patan was destroyed several period of times. Today, one can barely find the traces of such a magnificent town. The most significant monuments in Patan are Rani Ki Vav, Sahastralinga Talav and Khan Sarovar. Patan is a famous manufacturing centre of the beautiful Patola silk saris.
History of Patan :
Patan was founded by the Vanraj Chavda in 746 AD. It enjoyed a privileged status of capital of Gujarat, for about 600 years from 746 AD to 1411 AD. In the 8th century, Patan under the name of Anahilvada, was the capital of the Hindu kings of Gujarat. The major Rajput clans of Chavadas, Solankis and Vaghelas ruled Gujarat from Patan. The glory of Patan reached its highest point during the Solanki period. During this period, the city was a great place of learning and a prosperous trading center. The rulers were great patrons of fine arts and architecture and thus constructed various religious and historical places in the city. This town was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024 AD. Patan is also described in the Jain text "Kumarpala Rasa" as a prosperous fortified town, about 18 miles in circumference with 84 town squares, 52 bazaars, mints of gold and silver, well laid out gardens with fountains and trees, grammar school of Sanskrit and Prakrit, Hindu and Jain temples. After last Vaghela ruler, Karan Ghelo lost to Ulugh Khan in 1289 AD, the Muslims raided the town, destroyed various temples and ruined the entire city. This city was also taken over by Alau-ud-din Khaljis brother Alaf Khan in 1306. Today, one can barely find the traces of such a magnificent town. Since the rule of King Kumarpal, Patan was the only centre of unique weaving craft of Patola, but even today, this traditional weaving craft is practiced by some of the families.
Shopping in Patan :
Patan is also known for the unique weaving craft of Patola silk sarees. These sarees are produced in a great vast process by the Ikat technique. Threads are tie-dyed to create the pattern before the weaving process begins.
Tourist Attractions in Patan :
Patan is a dusty, little visited town, but its narrow streets are lined by the elaborate, faded wooden houses and more than 100 Jain temples, which are worth exploring. The largest of the Jain temple is Panchasara Parasvanath. The major tourist attractions in Patan are Rani Ki Vav, Sahastralinga Talav and Khan Sarovar. Rani ki Vav is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. This Vav was constructed by Udaymati, the queen of Bhimdev and represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture. Sahastralinga Talav, an artificial tank was built by the Siddhraj Jai Singh in Gujarat. The architecture of this tank integrated the great sense of water management and sanctity of water in Hindu religion. The major tourist attractions in Patan are Rani Ki Vav, Sahastralinga Talav and Khan Sarovar.
Rani ki Vav :
The Rani ki Vav, a step well in Patan is an excellent example of subterranean architecture in Gujarat and has steps that lead down to the water level. This Vav is situated about 134 km north-west of Ahmedabad, and about 57 km from Mehsana. The Rani ki Vav was built by Rani Udayamti of the Solanki dynasty, probably as a memorial for her husband Bhimdeva I (1022 - 1063 AD). This Vav represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture and forms the link between a kunda and the classical step-well. In addition to the straight staircase, it also has lateral staircases, along with very broad, stepped corridors. The entrance of this Vav is situated in the east and the well in the west. The exquisitely carved side walls, pillars, steps and platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. Although, this Vav is in a bad condition, but still the entrance, the side walls of the stepped corridor, some of the mandapas and the back wall of the well are still in a perfect condition. Five lateral, staggered staircases attached to the side walls connect various storeys. Every surface of the well and levels are adorned with fine sculptures of Hindu deities, religious motifs and geometrical patterns. The lower most level has 37 niches with rudimentary images of Ganesha in the centre and images of the Sheshashayi Vishnu on the upper level. On the upper levels, the impressive images of Laxmi-Narayana, Uma-Mahesh, Brahma-Brahmani, Kubera and Ganesha, with their respective consorts are also sculpted. On the lower levels, there are images of Vishnus incarnations and 24 forms but the Kufma and the Matsya avatars do not find a place in this Vav. No other Vav in India is so profusely adorned as the Rani ki Vav.
Sahastralinga Talav :
Sahastralinga Talav, an artificial tank, was built by the Siddhraj Jaisingh (1093 -1143 AD), the Chalukyan ruler of Gujarat in Patan. This tank is situated on the north-western part of Patan, on the banks of the Saraswati River. The architecture of this tank integrated the great sense of water management and sanctity of water in Hindu religion. The tank used to receive water from a canal of the Saraswati River and had spread about five km with masonry embankments. About thousands of shrines dedicated to the Lord Shiva were constructed on the edge of the water tank, but now there are remains of only some shrines. Looking at the ruins, one can imagine the grandeur of this great water tank. An inscription found in the Shiva temple in Vyala Kua Street of Patan indicates that the lake was part of a much larger work. At present, the Sahastralinga Talav is dry and the earth work are buried under the sands of the Saraswati River, the same river that was once filled with water. According to some local people the tank was dry to the curse given by the Jasma Oden. A famous story of Siddhraj Jaisingh and Jasma Odan, a beautiful woman of the tank diggers community, revolves around this tank. She refused to marry the Siddhraj and committed Sati to protect her honour. It is believed that her curse made this tank waterless and the king without an heir to the kingdom of Gujarat. The Sahastralinga Talav is pentagonal in shape, and marked by a series of mounds showing its shape. The earthworks circumscribe an area of several kilometres and about 1 km broad. The total area of the Talav is about 17 hectares. At its fullest, it would have contained about 4,206,500 cubic metres of water. In the centre of the Talav is a large earth heap, the Bakasthana. On a raised platform over it, was built a rauza, an octagonal structure of Lakhori bricks. The most interesting of the relics are the channels, the well, steps and side elevation of the Talav, and a bridge. The channel runs from north to south and connected the lake to the Saraswati River.
Khan Sarovar :
Khan Sarovar is located outside South Gate. This is a water tank from Solanki period with stone steps and masonry. Mirza Aziz Kokah renovated this tank using the stones from ruined structures.
Hemachandracharya Gyan Mandir :
Hemachandracharya Gyan Mandir contains thousands of rare ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit and Prakrit. Hemachandracharya was a great scholar and grammarian, the first one to formulate the grammar of the Gujarati language.
There are 100 Jain temples in Patan. The most important Jain temple is the Mahavir Swami Derasar in Dhandherwad with exquisitely carved wooden dome. The important Hindu temples are Kalika Mata, Sindhwai Mata, Harihareshwar Mahadev and Brahma Kund.