Rani ki Vav (dedicated to a King, Built by a Queen)

Rani ki Vav ‘Queen’s Stepwell’

Monument dedicated to a King, Built by a Queen

Being one of the prominent attractions of Gujarat Rani ki Vav attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. The architecture and historical relevance of this beautiful stepwell is definitely commendable and if you are planning for a trip to Gujarat, then it is certainly a must-visit place.


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Located in Patan on the banks of river Saraswati, this beautiful piece of art has some facts that makes it even more interesting to explore. It’s good to know about a place before visiting it; isn’t it? Here are some of these interesting facts about Rani ki Vav that you should not miss!

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Built by a Queen

India is filled with monuments dedicated by a lot of kings in the fond memory of their queens. However, Rani ki Vav stands as an exception, it was built in the loving memory of Bhimdev I by his beloved Queen, Rani Udayamati around 1063 AD. Rani ki Vav translates to ‘Queen’s Stepwell’. The stepwell, Rani ki Vav, is believed to be built by Rani Udayamati in 1063 in loving memory of her husband, King Bhimdev I – son of Mularaja, who was the founder of the Solanki dynasty of Anahilwada Pattan. Most of the stepwell has been silted up by the waters of the river Saraswati. Such is the beauty of the pillars of the vav that they take us to the period of the Solanki dynasty and of the marvel of their architecture. A mention of the construction of this vav by Rani Udayamati has been made in Prabandha Chintamani written by Merunga Suri in 1304 AD.


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Architecture of the Stepwell

The vavs of Gujarat are not merely sites for collecting water and socializing, but also simultaneously hold great spiritual significance. They were originally constructed quite simply, but became more intricate over the years, perhaps to make explicit this ancient concept of the sanctity of water by carving it out in stone deities. You may thus enter Rani Ki Vav as if it is a subterranean temple.


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The stepwell is around 30m deep and the architecture reflects the rich style used during the time of Solanki dynasty. The steps begin at ground level, leading you down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries. Most of the carvings on the walls and pillars of the vav are dedicated to Lord Vishnu in different forms of his incarnations, like Rama, Vamana, Mahishasuramardini, Kalki, Vamana and Varahi, to name a few. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers), painting their lips and adorning themselves. At water level you come to a carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, where it is said he rests in the infinity between ages. With a prior appointment, a walk through the heritage structure can also be enjoyed by the tourists.

The vav was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati river and silted over until the late 1980s, when it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India, with the carvings found in pristine condition. Rani Ki Vav is amongst the finest stepwells in India, and one of the most famous legacies of the ancient capital city.


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The Tunnel That Reaches Sidhpur

Every monument has a mystery behind it and so does Rani ki Vav, beneath the last step of the well, there is a gate that leads to a 30m tunnel that opens to Sidhpur, a town close to Patan.

A visit to Patan is incomplete without a visit to Rani ki Vav that flaunts the craftsmanship of the artisans of those times. Other attractions that can be visited in Patan include the Jain temples and Sarasralinga Talav.

Open from 8am to 6pm.

Entry fee for Indians Rs. 5/-, Foreigners 2 USD

How to get there

By road: Intercity buses from Ahmedabad to Patan take 3.5 hours, and 1 hour from Mehsana. Shared jeeps are slightly quicker, but less comfortable.

By rail: The train can take you as far as Mehsana (1.5 hours). From there you will need to catch a bus to Patan.

By air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.

Link to UNESCO Site Click here

Link to Gujrat Tourism ‘Rani ki Vav’ Page Click here

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Tea Meditation Unique Techniques

How your Tea-time can be your Me-time

Once Thich Nhat Hanh asked some children , “What is the purpose of eating breakfast?” One boy replied, “The purpose of eating breakfast is to eat breakfast.” Thich Nhat Hanh concluded that the purpose of eating is to eat.

In the same manner, the purpose of drinking tea is to drink the tea. That said, you will say that yes while drinking tea I drink tea. But do you?

If you ponder upon what you were thinking or doing while drink tea this morning or last evening. Can you tell yourself that you were not thinking about something else or someone else, a past happening or a future task or how someone looked at you or insulted you or avoided you and so on. We often are not fully aware of the person sitting across the table and having tea with us.

Having Tea Together

Having tea is a ritual for us. A Me-ritual when we forget about the past and the future. We only just drink the tea and be present fully in that moment. We are aware that we are holding the cup of tea in our hand. Our palm getting warmer because of the tea. In winters how good it feels when our pal get warm. We feel as if life itself is flowing in us. We smell the tea and think about the farmers in the tea garden who utmost care to grow the tea. How much care they took while plucking only the good leaves carefully while standing on their feet. The pain their feet felt at that time. We feel compassion and bless them for their hard work is what goes into making such an amazing cup of tea tat we are joying.

Smile at the person across the table or sitting next to you and enjoying the same tea. Smile make or body forget the tiredness and infuse a goodness and calmness in our cells.

Having Tea Alone

Having tea alone is another good time to connect to oneself and with the universe. Do you know that the universe is always expanding. It’s moving towards greatness. Take a look at the picture above – a man is having a cup of tea alone. There is calmness on his face. The plant beside him is a great sight.

I pour a cup of Tea – a cup full of Life

Steps one can follow for Tea ritual [you can customize you own ritual]:

  • I look at the cup, full of tea.
  • I smile.
  • I pick up the cup of tea mindfully.
  • I smile.
  • I am fully aware that I am holding a cup of tea in my hands.
  • I feel the cup as it warms my palm.
  • I bless it.
  • I can see the color of the tea.
  • I can feel the smell of the tea.
  • I forget the past. I forget the future.
  • I breathe in and I calm myself.
  • I breathe out and I smile.
  • I take a sip of tea.
  • I enjoy.
  • I breathe in and calm my self.
  • I breathe out and I smile.
  • I take a sip of tea.
  • I enjoy.
  • I am present at this moment.
  • I am with me, the wonderful me.
  • Present moment, Wonderful moment

and you can continue to have tea in this manner. You do not need to pronounce the above, just feel.

Life is living in the present moment.

Live mindfully. Live peacefully. Live Happily.

Blessed Be!

How to stay fit without even attending gym

We all want to stay fit, don’t we? But going to gym is the hard part. Not any more. We can stay fit even without going to gym. Don’t believe me, read below. A few steps to keep you fit and healthy. You don’t have to carry that extra layer of fat around your waist. Your body can also look good which you can show off with various outfits.

Routine is the key

If you want to be successful in life the first this you have to implement in your lifestyle is Discipline. Discipline comes with routine. Routine is what makes you do one thing with focus on a daily basis until it becomes your second nature.

So having a routine is very important to accomplish anything in life. Make a routine and follow it no matter what 6 days a week. Take sunday (or any other day of your choice) off.

Know the Rules of the Game

Knowing what you are doing is the next most important job. If you don’t know How to Do it, then you are heading nowhere in that direction. You have to know how to prevent injuries when you are doing workouts or which shoes to wear for running.

Always wear the Gears before you start

Make a list of gears that you are going to need for the workouts and exercises you are about to do. And yes, always keep a spare towel. Remember, eyes are our window to the world. These are our most precious gifts. Always wear a protective eye-wear whatever you do.

Start Jogging

Always start with light jogging before you do any other workouts. It’s the best out there. It wakes every cell of your body. Jogging prepares the heart for the workouts to come. It gives your muscles strength and energy for the rest of the day. I know some people who only do jogging for workouts and live a healthy and fit life.

Yoga

Add Yoga to your list. Yoga connect you to the nature. Yoga comes from India. International Yoga day is held on the 21st of June every year since it’s inception in 2015.There are yoga teachers worldwide. Find one yoga teacher or join authentic online yoga classes or do some simple yoga yourself.

Push-ups is the best

Push-ups is the best Energy and Strength builder exercise you can find. Show me one who has practiced Push-ups for a year and has not gained muscle and strength. You can’t find one.

Limit of doing exercise

Know this, there is a limit to everything. Do not overdo any thing or you’ll ruin it. Your body can take only a certain amount of workout pressure everyday. You cannot have muscles in one day or become slim in a week. No you can’t. You have to work with focus for atleast a year before you see any change and that is very healthy. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Healthy Nutrition

See a nutritionist and find a good nutritional diet for yourself. Along with workouts you will need proper nutrition to keep your body fit, healthy and active.

Love yourself. Life will change.

Did you know that Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus accurately predicted this solar eclipse back in the 6th century B.C.

Historical Map of Lydia and Medea

It was a long drawn battle between the Lydians and Medes which was going on for more than 5 years. Herodotus writes that the Lydians under King Alyattes and the Medes under Cyaxares were fighting hard. The King of the Lydians Alyattes refused to give up his suppliants to the men sent by King Cyaxares from Medes as per a prior negotiation agreement between them, a war broke out and continued for five years, with various success. In the course of it the Medes gained many victories over the Lydians, and the Lydians also gained many victories over the Medes. Among their other battles there was one night engagement. In the sixth year another combat took place as the balance had not inclined in favour of either nation. One day during the battle, the sky suddenly started to go dark. This became a concern to both the camps as it was still much before sunset. Both the camps called off the fight and later agreed to sign a Peace Treaty of the Battle of the Eclipse or Battle of Halys.

It is said that Thales the son successor of the King Cyaxares of Medes and predicted the eclipse accurately in the 585 B.C. Can you believe how much intelligent one has to be to predict such a astronomical phenomena almost more than 2500 years ago. Cicero mentions that Thales was the first man to successfully predict a solar eclipse during the reign of Astyages He was the son and successor of Cyaxares and his reign began at the end of the war after Cyaxares’ death.

Herodotus


According to Herodotus, the appearance of the eclipse was interpreted as an omen, and interrupted a battle in a long-standing war between the Medes and the Lydians. The fighting immediately stopped, and they agreed to a truce. Because astronomers can calculate the dates of historical eclipses, Isaac Asimov described this battle as the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day and described the prediction as “the birth of science”.

Herodotus(c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day BodrumTurkey). He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his “inquiry” (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as “The Father of History“, a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

According to The Histories of Herodotus,  The Histories 1.73–74 states that a war started in the period between the Medes and the Lydians. [So this proves that the war was real.] There were two reasons for the war: the two sides had clashing interests in Anatolia, but also there was a motive of vengeance: some Scythian hunters employed by the Medes who once returned empty-handed were insulted by King Cyaxares. In revenge the hunters slaughtered one of his sons and served him to the Medes. The hunters then fled to Sardis, the capital of the Lydians. When Cyaxares asked for the Scythians to be returned to him, Alyattes refused to hand them over; in response, the Medes invaded. Are you wondering what is Halys? You must. Below I have mentioned the details about Halys.

Historical Map of Halys River

About Halys

The Kızılırmak (Turkish pronunciation: [kɯzɯɫɯɾmak]Turkish for “Red River”), also known as the Halys River (Ancient Greek), is the longest river entirely within Turkey. It is a source of hydroelectric power and is not used for navigation. At one place the river has formed a wide arch, known as the “Halys bend”.

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Source: Wikipedia and other websites. Copyrights, if any, belong to respected Copyright Holders.

Evening dose of Positivity

How I started Meditation

It is very important for people to do Meditation on a regular basis. It keeps us calm all the time and research shows that those who practice meditation on a regular basis tend to make less rash/impulsive decision as compared to people who don’t.

I for one has been practicing Zen meditation since the later half of 2013. It was very much a life saver for me as I was going through a rough patch after a break-up. I had to get involved in some physical activities that could keep me busy in morning.

Introduction to Tai Chi

My quest for remaining busy in the morning did not stop there. I was constantly trying to find healthy ways of keeping myself busy. Then, I found Tai Chi.

Tai Chi can increase your flexibility and improve your balance. The activities are low-impact, so they are not going to put your joints at risk. Tai Chi is practiced worldwide for achieving balance in life. Both children and elder persons enjoy Tai Chi as it is very easy, interesting and full of life. Guidance from a practitioner is important. I have also heard it keeps blood pressure in control.

Once I started practicing Tai Chi after doing meditation in the morning, I felt that all these days I was missing out something great in my life. Thank god that I found about these two great life changing practices.

Bringing back Balance in Life

With time I found Balance in life. My mind was under my control. The thoughts that you don’t want to tend to come more often than not. But doing meditation helped me let those thoughts float away like a flowing river.

Evening dose of Positivity

One fine evening, I was sitting idle at home and needed to do something. Finding nothing worth doing I decided to go for a 10 min session of meditation. After the session, I felt great. From that day onward I decided to do meditation in the Evening whenever I am free. If not every day, at least twice or thrice a week.

Evening meditation brings positive vibes in life after a tiring day at work. It gives us fresh energy for the rest of the evening. Since then I have been practicing both Zen meditation and Tai Chi. It helps me face life more boldly and with confidence.

It’s My Life, My Ways. Keep Smiling.

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