The historic town of Patan, founded in AD 796, is situated on the banks of the river Saraswati, about 51 km from Mahesena and 130 km from Ahmedabad. Originally known as Anhil-vad-Pattan, the town flourished during the Solanki dynasty in 8th and 11th century. The city was the capital of the formidable Solankis, but was attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in AD 1024. Ravaged by time and plundered for religion and riches, very little of the city’s earlier glory remains today. Of all the remaining monuments at Patan, the Queen’s stop well or Rani Ki Vav is the most stunning and speaks volumes about the sculpting skills of the artisans of the Solanki era. Constructed by Queen Udayamati (AD 1022 – 63), wife of Raja Bhima Deva and built in the Khajuraho style, the Vav is 90 ft wife but there are no erotic images here. Instead, the walls are lined with images of Sheshshai Vishnu, Shiva and other gods and goddesses.As the Vav remained buried for a long time, its numerous sandstone images adorning the walss have survived the ravages of time.
The stepwell is the oldest and perhaps the grandest among the 120 plus step wells in Gujarat. Its massive size can best be measured by comparison with the tourists who descend the steps and seen from above look little more than ants swarming an anthill. The stepwell was silted up for centuries. Seven storeys down to the water level steps lined by sculptures of the avatars of lord Vishnu, Hindu Goddesses, Jain idols and beautiful apsaras. Behind the water are sculptures of lord Vishnu.
The location of Patan on the banks of river Saraswati, one of the 3 holy rivers of india alongside the Ganga and the Yamuna, and its tributary the Chandrabhaga, has contributed considerably to its religious importance, and this explains the number of temples in this region, besides the fact that it was a major center for learning and business in medieval times.
BHAVAI FOLK TALE OF JASMA ODAAN.
Jasma Odhan is a musical folk tale, full of humour, joy & drama based on bhavai, the Gujarati folk form. This famouse bhavai is the tale of Jasma, the earthly incarnation of a heavenly apsara, Kaamkundala. Jasma is a female member of the Odh community of Gujarat. The Odhs are laborers. Jasma’s character highlights the theme of the play, Dignity of Labour & Womanhood. The two major characters Rangla and Nayak, like Sutradhars take us through the journey of Jasmas life, giving us a glimpse of this very colourful Indian folk style, bhavai. The live music adds to the visual magic created by the performers. The Gujarati folk songs and dances give the typical rural and earthen feel. Each song is an original Bhavai composition. From the apsara to the Odh community, the costumes are immaculate and authentically designed. The script of Jasma Odhan holds the brilliant craft of excellent balance between humour, tension, dramatic conflict and the profoundlity.
Jasma of the Odh tribe of Gujarat who chose to become the wife and work – mate of a simple pond-digger man called ‘Rooda’, is remembered for her loyalty to her husband, for fearless conduct on the face of the King Siddhraj Jaisingh and for her love of the rugged life of the nomadic odes.
The Sahasra lingam Talav tank are among the many artificial tanks built in different part of Gujarat under the patronages of Siddhraj jaisingh (1093-1143 AD). The architech of this tank integrated water management techniques and respected sanctity of water in the hindu religion. The tank received water from a canal of the Saraswati river and had spread of about 5 km with good stone masonry embankments. There were thousand Shiva Shrines on the edge of the tank. Some remains of the same are even visible.
ABOUT BHAVAI MUSIC
Bhavai (Strolling Players) is a popular folk theatre form of Gujarat. Veshas (Means costume) or Bhavai plays are also known as “swang”. The origin of Bhavai dates from the 14th Century. It is said that Hemala Patel’s (a resident of a viallage called Unza) daughter Ganga was kidnapped by a muslim Subedar. Their family priest Asait Thakar, a resident of Siddhapur, rushed to the subedar claiming Ganga to be his own daughter.
Bhavai is as much a form of entertainment as it is a kind of ritual offering made to Goddess Amba. In the courtyard of the Ambaji temple near Mount Abu the Navratri festival is celebrated with Bhavai performances. Amba is the presiding deity of Bhavai. Bhavai according to some – Bhava and Aai. Bhava means univers and aai is mother, together it means mother of the universe, Amba.
Bhavai Veshas portray people from all classes of society. The barbers, knife-sharpeners, robbers, bangle sellers and social and economic thieves, banjaras, odas, fakirsand sadhus, darjis. At the end of the play Jasma odan, a Muslim fakir appears to whom people request to revive Jasma.