Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Gujarat Diaries: Adalaj Stepwell (Vav)

Set in the quiet village of Adalaj, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat the step well has well known depiction of Solanki style architecture, which is five stories deep. Built in the 1499 by Queen Rudabhai, wife of the Vaghela chief Veersinh, served as a resting place for travelers and pilgrims. During the time of the construction of this vav, the place was being ruled by Rana Veer Sinh of the Vaghela dynasty.During the invasion of the Muslim ruler Mohammed BegdaVeer Sing was killed in the attack. The beauty of the slain king's widow, Rani Roopba mesmerized the Muslim ruler, who sent a proposal for marriage. The heartbroken but determined queen agreed to the proposal on the condition that this five storied well be completed. The king readily agreed and thereby the construction continued. As the well got constructed and the time came for marriage the queen committed suicide by jumping into the well and showed her loyalty towards her husband.

The well is octagonal in plan at the top which has beautifully carved on large number of pillars. It was dug deep to access ground water, the air and light vents in the roofs at various floors and at the landing level are in the form of large openings.However direct sunlight does not touch the flight of steps making the inside atmosphere at least six degrees cooler than the outside making it perfect for people to spend time and get away from the scorching heat. From the first story, three staircases lead to the bottom water level, which is a unique feature.One of the extraordinary feature of this step-well is it is just one of its kind with three entrance staircase meeting in a square platform with octagonal opening at the top.The four corners of the square are strengthened with stone beams which are at exactly 45 degrees angle. the carvings are a perfect blend of Indo-Islamic architecture. The harmonious mixture of the intricate Islamic floral patterns indulge into the Hindu and Jain Symbolism depicting in depth the culture and ethos of the era that passed through. 

A worth visiting place showing us the grandeur and rich architectural skills of our forefathers, also an insight to the structures of ancient times.

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