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 Khalji's 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 center of unique weaving craft of ‘Patola’, but even today, this traditional weaving craft is practiced by some of the families.
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 artifical 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.
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.