THE TOWN OF PATAN was the capital of this region between the 8th and 15th centuries, before Sultan Ahmed Shah moved base to Ahmedabad in 1411. The ruins of the old capital, Anhilwada, lie 2 km (1.3 miles) northwest of Patan, and include an impressive stepwell, Rani ni Vav, and a water tank. ‘the seven-storeyed stepwell ranks with Adalaj Vav as the finest in Gujarat. This splendid piece of architecture from the Solankj period (10th-14th centuries), now painstakingly restored, boasts some 800 individual, elaborately carved sculptures. Constructed in the 11th century by Queen Udaymati as a memorial to her husband, Bhimdeva, its unique feature is its direct as well as lateral series of steps leading to the water’s edge. At the base are 37 niches, with the elephant god Gsnesha carved into them. Nearby, the Sahastralinga Talav, a water tank with 1,000 shrines dedicated to the god Shiva, stands on the banks of the Saraswati river.
Patan also boasts more than 100 beautifully carved Jain temples, of which the Panchasara Parsvanatha Temple is the most striking. The town also has numerous traditional haveils with intricately carved facades. Another attraction for many visitors is the beautiful patoia sari. This lavish fabric is woven in Patan by a single family who have passed the craft down from one generation to the next. They are available locally and in major cities,