This is an Official Postcrossing card from India! It is a UNESCO card featuring Rani Ki Vav, or “The Queen’s Stepwell”. Rani Ki Vav is a landmark in the town of Patan in the state of Gujarat (which is in the western part of the country). I’ll start off this post by answering one big question – what in tarnation is a stepwell? “Well”… (haha see what I did there? I’m so funny I know…) in short, they’re water management systems that allow for easy access to water. The bottom level is set to a point where the ground is always saturated, known as the water table. Subsequent levels are then made to adapt to the changes in the water level based on the time of year (for example, it’ll rise during the rainy season). I think it’s pretty cool that these have been used over thousands of years ago – knowledge might be more accessible today, but ingenuity was always timeless! Rani Ki Vav is a remarkable stepwell in that not only did it serve as something practical and VERY helpful, but was also an aesthetic marvel. Built in the 11th century as a memorial to a king, it was a sort of inverted temple that consecrated water. This temple was built in the Māru-Gurjara architecture… and because I have this weird affinity for talking about architectural styles, I’ll tell ya about it! One key thing that characterizes Māru-Gurjara architecture is that. Everything. Is. Adorned. Like just take a look at this – okay I’ll admit there are a few walls with nothing on them, but much of the temple is so intricately carved! The carvings that you can (sort of) see on the pillars and far walls fuse mythological, religious and secular (non-religious) imagery. No kidding – they picked their finest engineers and craftsmen for this project. Thank you lots for sending this wonderful card my way!