Adalaj ni Vav is a popular tourist attraction of Ahmedabad city and is situated 18 kms north of the city. The step-well or Vav, (as it is called in the Gujarati and Marwari language), was built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai.
Step-wells were integral to the semi arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan as they provided basic needs for drinking, washing and bathing. They were frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes. These step-wells were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals.
The Adalaj step-well is a stunning example of Indo-Islamic architecture and design. There is harmonious play of intricate Islamic floral patterns seamlessly fusing with Hindu and Jain symbolisms – embodying the culture and ethos of the time.
The designs on its walls and pillars include intricately carved leaves, flowers, birds, fish, elephants and such other breathtaking ornamental motifs.
The step-well has five stories and three gates which serve as entry points. Upon entry, the first thing that gazes at you is the octogonal mandap with a geometrical dome at the top. On both sides of steps are balconies with beautiful carvings. For the timeless architecture it has come to represent, Adalaj is a must visit place, especially for lovers of architecture.
Text & Photos By Vidyavati Chandan