The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given a lavender wash to the new Rs 100 note which will be in circulation by next month. Two years ago, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, the powder blue Rs 100 note was left untouched. It was soon the most sought-after currency note in India till the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 arrived in the banks.
The new violet note is part of the revised design series. Dimension of the Rs 100 banknote will be 66 mm x 14s introduced after demonetization in November 2016. The latest variant features Gujarat’s ‘Rani Ki Vav’ (queen’s stepwell) along with the Swachh Bharat logo and slogan on its reverse. Gandhiji’s placement remains the same.
‘Rani Ki Vav’ was built at the height of craftsmen ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style which reflected the mastery of the complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions.
Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works.
For the uninitiated, a vav is a stepwell, much like baolis or baoris. Stepwells are water storage systems that were first constructed in the 3rd millennium BC and were subsequently adopted by different dynasties and kingdoms over the centuries. They were designed to make water-storage areas, resembling ponds or wells, accessible by descending flights of steps. The ruins of these stepwells can still be found across the Indian subcontinent, including many parts of Western and Northern India.
Located on the banks of River Saraswati, Rani ki Vav was built by Rani Udayamati as a memorial to her husband, the 11th century-king Bhima I of the Chaulukya or Solanki dynasty, who ruled parts of present-day Gujarat. As per UNESCO, Rani Ki Vav displays the “height of craftsmen’s ability in stepwell construction”. Made in the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, the vav is not only intricately designed and beautiful, it also reflects complex technique and mastery of craftsmanship.
The vav is designed to appear like an inverted temple, signifying the sanctity of water. There are 500 primary sculptures and over a thousand small ones combining religious, mythological and secular imagery as well as references to literary works.
Divided into seven levels, the fourth is the deepest and leads to a rectangular tank located at the westernmost end of the complex at a depth of 23 metre. The stepwell is 60 metre long and 20 metre in breadth.
There is a 30 km long tunnel that leads to the town of Siddhpur and was used for safe passage during war or invasion. It was believed that bathing in the waters of the vav could cure people of many ailments. This “magical” quality of the vav’s water was apparently due to the herbs found in and around the complex
“The base colour of the note is lavender. The note has other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme, both at the obverse and reverse. Dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm x 142 mm,” the RBI said in a statement.
All the Rs 100 notes issued by the Reserve Bank in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender, the RBI said.
The new note is slightly smaller than the existing one and bigger than the Rs 10 note. Once the new notes arrive, the banks may have to again recalibrate the ATMs to accommodate the new notes, after settings had to be changed to dispense new notes of Rs 2,000, 500 and 200 notes in 2016.
The 200-rupee note with a base colour of bright yellow bears the motif of Sanchi Stupa. The chocolate brown Rs 10 note has Konark Sun Temple on the reverse side. The fluorescent blue Rs 50 notes features Stone Chariot in Hampi, another world heritage site recognised by UNESCO.
In 2014, UNESCO had recognised Gujarat’s ‘Rani-ki-Vav’, the 11th-century wonder in Patan, as a World Heritage Site. It will make a grand debut on this new Rs 100 note.