Adalaj ni Vav Ahmedabad or Adalaj stepwell was the first place we visited after landing in Ahmedabad the previous evening. We were staying in a Heritage house in old town and were advised to hire an auto to take us places to see in Ahmedabad.
I had heard about its magnificent carving but did not know it has a very interesting story behind it as well!
My instant reaction on seeing it was a “Wow” instead of Vav. 🙂
Adalaj stepwell or ‘Vav‘ or or ‘Vaav’ as it is locally called, is a five-storied beautifully chiseled step well in a small sleepy village Adalaj, about 18 km from Ahmedabad. It is intricately carved and is a fine example of magnificent architectural form. The designs as leaves, flowers, birds, fish, women performing daily chores, scenes of court and kings and other breathtaking ornamental designs on its walls and pillars have made Adalaj Vav a popular tourist attraction of the city.
Oh! I would have loved to be a traveller in that era!
This article was last updated on October 6th, 2021
Read about another town Saputara of Gujarat
Built in 1499 it was to not only conserve water but was also a place where one could rest during hot summer months due to its cool chambers. In the olden days, these step wells used to be frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along their trade routes. It was also a congregation place for locals and a meeting place for women where they would collect water, share their everyday stories, and worship the deities placed in small temples along the well.
The structure is primarily built of stone and brick and mortar is used for the inner parts. The bottom of the well is a square stepped floor which opens in the sky above and is supported by a maze of pillars and arches. The underground part at the bottom is like a palace in itself, with a distinct touch of Islamic architecture. Influence of Buddhists, Jains rulers of Gujarat can also be seen.
Sunlight doesn’t reach directly into the well but openings in the ceiling enable light and air to enter inside. This keeps the water inside the well cool even in summer.
Legend behind Adalaj Vav
The construction of this well was started by the local Hindu ruler of the area, Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela Dynasty for his wife Rani Rudabai. Mohammed Begda, a Muslim ruler of a neighboring state, invaded Adalaj and killed Rana Veer Singh. Begda was attracted by the beauty of the widow of Rana, and proposed her to marry him. However the queen put forth a condition to get the five-storeyed step-well completed before she considered his proposal. King Begda finished the step-well in record time in the hope to marry Rani Rudabai. The next day Rani Rudabai visited the step-well, said her final prayer and jumped into the well and died.
And so, the well has also become a memorial of the love of the queen for her husband.
Ahmedabad is just 1/2 hour drive to Adalaj.
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Awesome! Never heard about this well. Lovely shots.
Wow ! Story is quite inspiring . Thanks for sharing .
I remember visiting one in Bundi. Great places, we must do all we can to preserve them. Great photo opportunities in these places.
lovely!!! have heard so much about this, and have yet to visit it! sigh! wonder when the time will come!!! and what a story!
I have never heard of this place even though my native is Ahmedabad. The structure was marvelous but still my liking goes more towards the legend for building this one.
Grand Salute to Rani Rudabai .
I didn’t even know of this place! Thanks for the post.
Isn’t this place beautiful! I went there about two years back and was amazed by the intricacy of the carvings and the sheer beauty of the place. Beautiful photographs 🙂
A wonderful Vav indeed. My nephew had been there recently and brought back many pictures. (I was indisposed)
I’ve always wanted to see a step-well.. I believe there are some in MP, Gujarat and Delhi, no?
What a gorgeous structure!!
What an interesting and sad tale about the history of this well, the first photo makes it look like the structure is massive
Wow indeed! The details and carvings are so intricate.
Now you got to visit it. 🙂
Team G Square,
Indeed! Never knew about this story. You are welcome.
Yeah, I agree. And great stories behind the scene as well.
Indeed! You must visit one day.
Many times we are ignorant of our own home. Even I liked the legend more. Hats off to the queen. 🙂
You are welcome. 🙂
Thanks. The carvings are very detailed.
Please take care of your health. Indeed these stepwells are beautiful.
Yes you are right. There are many stepwells in our country, all saying some stories. 🙂
It is spread in five stories. You must visit one day.
Yes, Suzy. I haven’t posted many photos yet.
Thanks for including my post.
I had never heard of this before! Incredible place, incredible shots! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks and welcome to this site. 🙂
Reading this post took me off on waves of nostalgia. Adalaj’s step well is a place I must have visited countless times. Having stayed in Ahmedabad, I was so fascinated by this place that I used to frequent it. The history behind the step-well is as intriguing as the place itself.