Patan is a town in North Gujarat and it was a capital of Gujarat for about 700 years. The city is rich in historical and architectural monuments. It was a major centre of Jainism and has a large number of Jain temples. Rani ki Vav, a stepwell which is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the finest example of its kind.
First founded as a fortified city in 754 AD, Patan is estimated to have been the world's tenth largest city in the beginning of the 11th century. Sacked and destroyed during the 13th century, the city was soon rebuilt, and the world heritage listed stepwell was also constructed during this period.
The ancient city of Anahilvada Patan was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the first of the Chavda dynasty kings, in the 8th century. According to legend, the town was founded at the place pointed out by his childhood shepherd friend Anahil, so he named the city after him.
The city was the capital of Gujarat for 650 years, from 746 to 1411. During these years, it was ruled by several dynasties: the Chavdas, Solankis and finally Vaghelas. Under Solanki rule, 942-1244, Patan was a centre of trade, knowledge and architecture. It was also a major centre for Jainism. The Solanki rulers commissioned a large number of Hindu and Jain temples. They also constructed many civic and religious buildings.
At the end of the 13th century, Ulugh Khan, commander under Alauddin Khalji of Delhi Sultanate, plundered and destroyed the town. In 1411, the capital of Gujarat Sultanate was shifted to Ahmedabad. The glory of the town diminished with this shift; however, Patan still holds the earliest Muslim constructions in Gujarat.
Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC/ST), provides bus service connecting all major cities and towns of Gujarat.2 GSRC Bus Station
Shared Jeeps are available from Mehsana but they are somewhat crowded and uncomfortable.
The nearest airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad.
Autorickshaws are the main local mode of transport. Shuttles are available to move around in city.
The markets and pols are best explored on foot.
- 1 Rani ki Vav. 8AM-6PM. A stepwell, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, that was built in the 11th century. ₹40 for Indians, ₹600 for foreigners.
- 2 Sahastralinga Tank. The reservoir was built in 1084 by Solanki ruler Siddharaj Jaysinh on the erstwhile bank of the Sarasvati River. The lake had 1,008 Shiva shrines on its embankment. Spread over 17 acres, it has ruins of an 84-pillared Shiva temple and three-ringed sluice gates. Only 20% of the lake is excavated. It had a natural filtration system. Free.
- 3 Kali temple (On the way to Sahastralinga Tank). This temple of Kali, built by Siddharaj Jaysinh, is over 1,000 years old. Kali is a clan deity of the Solankis. She guards the town. Free.
- 4 Patan Patola Heritage (Patola Museum), Opp. Patan Museum, ☏ , . To learn about Patola sari and its heritage. Operated by Salvi weaver family.
- 5 Patan Museum (On way to Rani ki vav). 10AM-5PM, Wednesday and 2nd and 4th Saturday closed, Government Holidays closed. Established in 2010, the museum has large number of marble and sandstone sculptures dating back to the ancient and medieval times. ₹5 for Indians, ₹1 for school/collage students, ₹50 for foreigners, ₹100 photography, ₹500 for videography.
- Fort and Gates. The town is surrounded by fort walls and gates still largely intact. The old town situated in the fort has bustling bazaar. The havelis with wooden carved facades and brackets are located here. In the narrow pol streets, people are found making rope or bidi (traditional cigarette). Bagwada, Chhidiya, Mira, Aghara, Kothakooe, Phatipaal (Fatipal), Ghoonghdi, Kanasda (also known as Kalika), Khansarovar, Motishah, Bhathi, Lal are twelve medieval gates of the town. These gates are State Protected Monuments. Ganesh Bari is a small gate in the town. Some Patola and mashru weavers live here. Many old Jain temples are located here. The streets worth exploring are 6 Nagarwado. , Kapur Mehta no Pado, 7 Shantinath ni Pol. and 8 Dave no Wado.
- 9 Panchasara Parshwanath Jain temple. Morning and Evening. The town has more than 100 Jain temples. Panchasara temple is chief among them. It is one of the largest and most profusely carved temple.
- Hemachandracharya Jain Gnan Mandir library (Located near Panchasara temple). 10AM-5PM. Holds ancient Hindu and Jain texts including palm-leaf manuscripts.
- 10 Tankwada, ☏ (Janak Khatri). Mashru is a fabric woven from silk and cotton. Visit to find Mashru weavers.
- 11 Trikam Barot ni Vav. Another small stepwell .
- 12 Anand Sarovar (Gungadi Talav). Public park
- 13 Khan Sarovar. Historical square shaped lake. Sluice gates are state protected monument. Now a public park.
- 14 Shaikh Farid Tomb. Sheikh Farid's mosque and mausoleum is an early Islamic construction of Gujarat, built even earlier than monuments in Ahmedabad. It has a beautifully carved ceiling. It is falsely identified as Behram Khan's Maqbara.
- 15 Ruins and Megh Maya Temple. Located on a hillock, there is a temple of legendary Megh Maya associated with folklore of Sahastralinga Tank. There are some old ruins behind the temple.
- Patola Sari. A double ikat woven sari. A small scarf cost about ₹5000.
- Hotel Garden, Opp GEB Office. Serves good Gujarati Thali and Punjabi dishes.
- Hotel Tulsi, near New District Court, ☏ , . ₹750-1700.
- Shakar Hotel Garden, on Patan-Chanasma Highway, ☏ . ₹800-2000.
- , Sidhpur Char Rasta, ☏ . ₹500-990.
- Gangotri Hotel, opposite Chaturbhuj Baugh, ☏ . Only basic accommodation facilities. ₹350-700.
- Hotel Surya Palace, Yash Plaza, Near Railaway Crossing, ☏ . Located outside the town ₹250-700 for single, ₹350-1000 for double, ₹500-800 for triple bed, ₹75 for extra bed.