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The Shah of Sculptors: Meet India’s Legendary Sculptor Himmat Shah

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Sculptor Himmat Shah. Image source: www.openthemagazine.com
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  • Himmat Shah will be honored with legends of India award this week
  • Himmat Shah believes that K.G. Subramanyan inspired him the most
  • Himmat Shah started working with art with ceramic mud as it was affordable and he believes that creativity cannot be taught it has to come from within

India is full of creative ideas when it comes to sculptors. For Himmat Shah, Sculpture-making is a cake-walk. This legendary artist from Gujarat leaves one spellbound when one  comes closer to his works. The best way to define Shah is his simplicity. For his efforts in the field of sculpting, Shah will be honored with Legends of India award this week in New Delhi.

Shah was born in Lothal in Gujarat in 1933. He was so restless and devoid of peace in his life that he left his home when he was only 11 years old. Shah said that he found his hard work and imagination into practice with the help of artist-educator, Jagubhai Shah. Shah then moved to Baroda and won government cultural scholarship for four years (1956-1960), said a report by The Hindu.

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A young Himmat Shah with his silver paintings (1960s). Image source: www.openthemagazine.com
A young Himmat Shah with his silver paintings (1960s). Image source: www.openthemagazine.com

Himmat Shah believes that K.G. Subramanyan inspired him the most as he saw a modern artist in Subramanyan. Himmat Shah was also the member of the group founded by J Swaminathan. Himmat Shah further received  a scholarship from French Government. He studied etching from Atelier 17 in Paris in 1967. Shah was once escorted from Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and the irony is that his retrospective works are now present in that Museum at Saket.

Sculptures by Himmat Shah. Image Source: www.saffronart.com
Sculptures by Himmat Shah. Image Source: www.saffronart.com

Followed by his art, Shah is also passionate about food. He reminded that he used to have Puri, Aloo ki sabzi and Desi ghee Laddu in the morning which makes him feel fresh. He is also known for preparing simple food, especially dal. He believes that the food we ate is a tonic for the brain. He assumes that fish is a brain food and he had them too often. But now his passion for preparing food had died as he no longer cooks the food and is made by his maid, mentions The Hindu.

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Shah attended ceramic campaign Gujarat. Shah started working with art with ceramic mud as it was affordable and he believes that creativity cannot be taught it has to come from within.

Now, he is best known for his works in terracotta and bronze. He had his own studio in Jaipur but he continues to modify his search through travelling.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Himmat shah has amazing sculptures. Art does not lack behind in India

  • Aparna Gupta

    Himmat Shah is really a great sculptor. He can get World recognition through his works.

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Rani Ki Vav: A Mesmerising Stepwell Built In The Memory Of A King By His Queen

Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India

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Rani Ki Vav is one of the greatest stepwells ever made in India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rav Ki Rani in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India
  • It is famous for its size and beautiful architecture
  • The stepwell is one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO

Stepwells are an important part of India’s architecture and its

Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

history. Throughout India, there are many stepwells present which may though look similar, but differ in their architectural and historical significance. One such stepwell is Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat.

Rani Ki Vav – A monument breaking the norms 

India has many monuments which have been built by the kings in the memory of their queens, Taj Mahal is one of the greatest examples of that. However, Rani Ki Vav is different. Breaking through the norms, this monument was built by a queen in the memory of her king.

Rani ki Vav, which means, Queen’s stepwell is near Patan in Gujarat. It was constructed sometime during the 11th century in the memory of Bhimdev, the son of Mularaja who was the founder of the Solanki dynasty. The richly sculpted stepwell which is considered a masterpiece was dedicated to the king by his widowed wife, Udayamati. It was flooded by the river Saraswati in the 1980s.

Also Read: Nalanda Mahavira makes it to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

Rani Ki Vav – Architecture 

Rani Ki Vav stepwell was recognised as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2014.

This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons
This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is built inside an opening in the ground, which makes it special. The east facing stepwell is constructed in seven storeys and is approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep.

The central architectural theme of the stepwell is “Dasavatars,” meaning ’10 incarnations’ of Lord Vishnu. There are over 800 sculptures in the seven galleries, out of which, majority are devoted to Lord Vishnu only.There is also a carving of Vishnu reclining on one thousand snakeheads. The lowest level of the well is blocked by stones and silt now, after the flooding by river Saraswati, however earlier it used to be an escape route to the neighbouring villages.

Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is one of the finest step wells in India and the most famous in Gujarat. It has many pillars and walls which are sculpted in the beautiful Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It is nothing less than a mesmerizing sight.

Also Read: 5 Traditional Water Conservation Methods In India 

It is one of kind type of mesmerising structure which is definitely worth visiting. Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India. Rani ki Vav was also among the five international heritage sites selected by the Scottish Ten team for digital preservation and scanned in 2011. It is one truly remarkable monument.