Patan

Day trip to Patan  highlights:

Sun temple at Modhera is absolutely gorgeous. The Surya Kund or Ram Kund is a tank that literally reminded me of Paheli and the song Laaga re Jaal Laaga. The Surya Kund like all kunds has steps to go to the tank in the middle from all four sides. Along the steps to the bottom are 108 mini temples (108 = number of beads in a mala also). After people bathed in the water, they would go around and pray at each of the 108 temples in the Kund before going through the sabha hall to the temple itself. The temple represents the pinnancle of Solanki architecture. All the structures are made from beautifully carved sandstone. Literally an amazing place to take some gorgeous pictures. The bright colours of people’s outfits looked stunning against the sandstone. (This was the day I didn’t have my camera on me…, but others took pictures, I just done have them yet).

Lage Raho Munnabhai is an AWESOME movie. Very well done. It’s funny and imparts great lessons. Even though we all work with organizations that rest on Gandhian principles, its easy to forget the power of Gandhian principles. This movie was a perfect shot in the arm of energy. The dialogues are great and you’re continually laughing. When we came out, we began to pick up the trash in the plaza. The looks on the shopkeepers’ faces were priceless. So many people have seen the film and then walked through the plaza, but I doubt they started picking up the trash afterwards… =)

Rani-ni-Vav or the Queen’s Stepwell. Commissioned by the queen as a memorial to the late Bhimdev Maharaj (who had the sun temple constructed), the stepwell is a masterpiece. Again gorgeous carvings. Unlike a tank, a step well has stairs on up to 3 sides leading to the well. Rani-ni-vav has steps on one side. The step-well is 7 stories deep and due to passive cooling is incredibly cool as you move down into the step-well – a welcome relief from the hot day.

Patan’s Patola. Incredible artform that exists only in Patan. There used to be approximate 800 weavers, now there is 7-8. Its takes 4 people 3-4 months to make one sari. Each piece is only made by order, each thread in the design is hand dyed. The method for dyeing for each design was done atleast 150 years ago (some designs are older). A small handkerchief costs Rs. 15,000. The pieces are created by crossing weaving two threads- the horizontal and vertical one. Each thread has been pre-dyed to create the pattern. (I’m not explaining myself very well so check out the website). Very cool.

Playing antakshari on the bus was also a lot of fun. Boys vs Girls. THe guys are a lot of fun to play against. They all sing as a group, are very loud and have a ton of fun, which makes the whole experience a lot of fun too.

Overall, the day was my first day doing any touristy thing in Gujarat and it was a lot of fun. The history of this state is incredible and its been a very long time since I’ve seen any ancient Indian architecture. The experience of seeing places that are not in use is very different from visiting those in use (ie. temples such as that in Dwarka). I’m excited for India Guide: Gujarat to come out and have an even greater appreciation for all the knowledge Anjali has about Gujarat.

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