Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vavs of Gujarat - Adalaj ni Vav

Just the right amount of light.
Last week I told you about the most exquisite vav aka step well of Gujarat. This week I am back with another step well, smaller than Rani ni Vav but no less beautiful.

Unlike Rani ni Vav, Adalaj ni Vav is all about patterns
At a distance of about 24 kilometres from central Ahmadabad, just off Ahmedabad – Gandhinagar highway there is a dusty road that leads to a village. And there suddenly you read a huge banyan tree and a temple and there it is, Adalaj ni Vav. Prior to going to Adalaj, I was warned by a lot of people about how dirty the place was and how bad their experience of Adalaj was, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a clean courtyard leading to the step well.

Pillars and Pillars
And there it was – a small gated entrance to an intricately carved step well – Step well of Adalaj, or like it is locally called Adalaj ni Vav. Built in late 15th century, Adalaj ni Vav was also made by a queen for her king, at least technically. According to famous folklore – the well was started by Rana Veer Singh Vaghela, as a place where travellers and locals could rest and get water from. But before he could complete the construction of the well, his kingdom was attacked by neighbouring sultan – Mohammed Begda and he died in the battle. 

Tree of life is a prominent feature of Adalaj ni Vav
When Mohammed Begda later saw the queen of the kingdom, Rani Roopba, he fell for her and asked her for marriage. Rani accepted the offer but also said she wanted to complete the well before the marriage and asked Begda to help complete the construction. Bedga obliged and thus the 5 storeyed brilliance came into existence. But soon after, when it was time for the queen to accept matrimony, she killed herself, presumably by jumping into the well. Tragic end right?

Do you see the Kalash and the flower motifs?
Somehow, while this step well’s history is tragic, locals see it as a sign of love and pride, since Rani Roopba was known to be a proud Rajput and she lived and died for her king! But whatever be the story, Adalaj ni Vav still stand strong and is immensely beautiful. The amalgamation of Hindu and Islamic elements in the carvings hard to miss and for people who do not know the story or get saddened by it, it is sheer delight.

Couldn't help but think about the bittersweet story of this place.
The while the statues of Adalaj are not as elaborate and prominent as Rani ni Vav, beautiful floral motifs are etched everywhere, almost like some complicated heena design. Also the structure of Adalaj ni vav is way more symmetrical than Rani ni Vav, probably because every level was to serve like a resting place for many travellers. Think of an open air but shaded olden day’s hostel for travellers – that is exactly what this vav was.

Welcome to history
Today the Vav surely isn’t a hostel but it sure sees a lot of travellers, doesn’t it? Luckily due to Gujarat Tourism’s efforts of keeping such places clean and preserved, the number of tourists to Adalaj ni Vav is rapidly increasing. Gujarat has many other Vavs also, but Rani ni vav and Adalaj ni vav are the gems of the state, or at least I felt so.

Jharokha's aka watch windows at Adalaj ni Vav

How to Get There?
It is about 24km from Ahmedabad Airport.
Closes Airport, Railway Station – Ahmedabad



Best Time to Visit
Late August to February – Avoid the summers as the area heats up a lot.

Have you been to these step wells, or any other? Let me know in the comments below.


54 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures and well written post !!

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  2. There is so much beauty there...such a complex web of architectural marvels!

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  3. I have such fond memories of the place. I have to pen them soon.
    Lovely pictures.

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    1. Thanks Indrani! Would love to read your experience :D

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  4. This post just made me Nostalgic :) Lovely Pics : the Angle of Welcome to History wala Pic Super hain 👌👌 thank you for bringing back those memories !

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    1. Thank you so much Pooja. Hope I did justice to your memories :)

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  5. This reminds me of Boldt Castle. Unlike this place it was not completed as Mr Boldt's wife died. It's incomplete.

    This place looks so beautiful and with the story attached to it, I would love to go there one day.

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    1. Saru Di I didnt even know of Boldt Castle and thanks to you now I am waiting to visit Heart Island. Also, do make a trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat next time you go to India :)

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  6. I was researching this one two days back. So utterly gorgeous. Have to go soon.

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    1. Hope you get to do that trip soon :)

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  7. Your post reminded me of my visit to Adalaj ni vav and Rani ni vav.
    Both are beautiful.
    Your post and pictures are lovely.

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  8. Amazing architecture. You have covered it very well.

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  9. I have been here though I have lost all my pictures now but this looks even more beautiful in your words and through your lens, Vish! The intricate and magnificent detailing in the carving is mesmerising and ah, heart goes out when you read the story behind the place - so tragic!

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    1. Thank you so much Arti. Glad you liked the post. And seriously this place gets you all melancholic when you think of its story.

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  10. Just too good! I am a big fan of intricate architectures and this one just fits the bill. Outstanding. Would love to take a few shots myself at this gorgeous place.

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    1. Sona hope you get to visit this place and click lot of pictures soon :)

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  11. The architecture is fascinating, I would spend my entire time there taking pictures, and yours are really beautiful :)

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  12. This is incredible. The architecture is so ornate. It reminds me of the temples that I saw in Jaisalmer. The history and effort involved in making these is just so incredible.

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    1. True the effort and history of these places make them incredible :)

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  13. This place looks so exquisite! Architectural monuments and especially the stone carving always fascinates me. Also, the story you narrated thru these pictures made the place come alive. Beautifully presented, Vaisakhi! :)

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    1. Thanks Saumy. Glad you liked the post :D

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  14. Such a very inspiring and reminds us that love can conquers all. Can the modern times love will do it?

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    1. Dont know if modern times memory can create something magnificent like this but love sure can conquer all. :)

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  15. The story of the wall is so tragic, I guess the queen wanted to have the wall finished as a tribute to her late husband, and couldn't accept to marry the enemy who killed him. The architecture of the wall is so beautiful, I can't believe how many details are sculpted in it.

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    1. It is a beautiful place Joanna and it tells you of the queen's love.

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  16. Absolutely amazing! I've always found Indian temples incredibly interesting, the amount of detail on the carved stone is stunning! Here goes another one to my bucket list :D

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    1. Haha gladd Adalaj ni Vav made it to your bucket list. :D

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  17. Your pictures are absolutely stunning. When you mention the bit of the hostel...it gave me the idea to design a modern-day hostel in this style. How cool would that be?? If that hostel existed I'd definitely like to stay there!

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    1. Glad you liked the pictures EG and yes I would love to stay in that kind of hostel too! It would be so cool!!

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  18. A tragic yet charming love story. It's always intriguing knowing the stories behind destinations you visit!

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    1. Stories are a big part of travel I feel :)

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  19. I went to Ahmadabad few years back for work and didn't know anything about this place. Wish I'd have known about it! You've captured this place very nicely!

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    1. Ana there is always a next time. Hope you get to visit this place the next time you are in Ahmadabad :)

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  20. Wow, how incredible of a place and I can't imagine what it would have felt like to see it in person! I love the story behind the photos - sweet yet sad.

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  21. Looking into those pillars is so mesmerizing, its a beautiful shot! I'm always fascinated by stories and legends of historical places, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I also love the history associated with places. Glad you liked the post :)

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  22. I'd been here in 2014. It's indeed really pretty! I love every single thing about Gj...

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  23. Such intricate carvings and gorgeous sculptures. The Vavs are just mesmerizing. You have captured them well in this post.

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  24. Those intricate and ethereal carvings are incredible. We are yet to make it to Ahmedabad and would definitely follow your footsteps.

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    1. Hope you guys love your Ahmedabad visit whenever you go there :D

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  25. You must either have used a tripod or have a very steady hand to capture the detail on the stonework. Looking through the photos, I think that would be the aspect that would capture me the most about the place.

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    1. No tripods! But the stonework is truly amazing. I wonder how amazing they would have looked in your monochrome shots.

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  26. This looks so beautiful! Those carvings look so delicate and elegant - must have taken so long to do!!

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    1. I know right. The amount of detailing makes me wonder how much hard work this structure must have been!

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  27. Love architecture! And this post is just so amazing! The pictures are fab Vish! :) Have been to Rani Ki Vav but this yet to be visited.

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    1. Thanks Divsi! Hope you visit Ahmadabad again and this time visit Adalaj :D

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