Ra’ Khengar Wav -Junagadh
Halfway between Vantali and Junagadh there is a historical site. This area belongs to the Gujarat Agricultural University, and the very old stepwell on its grounds is used to water the nursery for the flower plants they grow there. We enter the gate, and two former drinking basins now filled with water lilies open the scene, though not rural it sets the tone for the peaceful functional and historical qualities of this stepwell. The basins are still filled by the elaborate system of stone carved channels leading from the well in many directions. There is a house on top of the stepwell, right next to the circular waterhole, the well. The well is a building in itself. Richly decorated parapet and brackets, pillars, coves, there is even a narrow but very passable ‘gangway’ between these pillars and the actual wall of the well. Cool looking, bluish green clear water. So clear we can see there is a third floor hidden under water. Architecturally this well is very different from any other we have seen. And, again one near to other wells well in Junagadh and Vantali known from the books, but not mentioned. We learned about it from someone in Vantali.
This was the third stepwell on one day, and such a beauty. Subterranean architecture, yes but very welcoming. Wide open floors, the characteristic darkness only in the circumferential ‘gangway’. This stepwell is too much, I have to sit down and watch, watch, watch, watery eyes, a combination of happiness and loss like described in Triste Tropiques by Levi Straus. If only all historical places could be as evocative.
Here we tried for the first time to lower a waterproof camera into the well. We used the original brackets to put a stick in over which we threw the rope. Later that night we watched the footage. What we saw exceeded our expectations. This slow throw compared to how a pot is thrown shows glimpses of the well, rotating, than focused for a moment, the moment it dives under, and guess what, little fish immediately come and check this thing in their water. The red light of the camera reflects on their shiny skin.
આ વાવ રા’ખેંગાર વાવ તરીકે ઓળખાય છે. આ વાવ જુનાગઢ ના રાજા રા’ખેંગાર એ બંધાવેલ છે. પુરાતત્વ વિભાગ દ્રારા રક્ષિત અને બાગાયત વિભાગ હસ્તક આવેલી આ વાવથી જુનાગઢના મોટાભાગના નાગરિકો અજાણ છે, આ વાવ જુનાગઢથી પાંચેક કિલોમીટર દુર વંથલી પાસે ,જુનાગઢ વેરાવળ રોડ પર આવેલી છે. આ વાવ અડાલજની વાવની નાની આવૃત્તિ જેવી લગભગ ૬૫ ફૂટ ઊંડી આ વાવ એક વાર જોવી ગમે એવી છે જેઓને ઐતિહાસિક સ્થળો જોવા ગમે છે તેઓને આ વાવ જોવી ગમશે. સોમનાથ જતા હોવ ત્યારે એક નજર નાખતા જજો !