|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