Architectural Ingenuity of 500 year old has a Tragic Tale of Unrequited Love and the sacrifice . The story is full of love and war along with devotion and the the betrayal. The tale of its creation is full of love , war, devotion, and betrayal.
This unique stepwell is located in Adalaj village in Gujarat, India, initiated by Raja Veer Singh in 1499 and completed by King Mohammed Begada for Rani Rudabai, wife of the Raja Veer Singh.
Adalaj stepwell will always remain unique. lt was completed in 1599. Mohd Begada while showing Rani Rudabai the completed stepwell, Rani Rudabai committed suicide by drowning herself in the well. The heartbroken Sultan couldn’t marry the Queen and preserved the stepwell to honour her. Even today, Adalaj Vav s described as Rudabai Vav, named after the queen who sacrificed her life instead of marrying a Sultan.
The tragic story associated with Adalaj Vav became a favourite theme of Gujarati folklore and poems. The people of Adalaj will forever cherish the memory of the Rani who was immortalized through sculptures and inscriptions describing her beauty, generosity, courage, and loyalty. Though the tales behind the stepwell are tragic, the legacy which was started by the Raja Veer Singh lives on as a symbol of loyalty and solidarity. The legend has been kept alive for centuries and is now being depicted in movies and literature. The magnificence of the stepwell can be experienced in every carving and pillar. There are many stone inscriptions singing praises to Raja and the Sultan as well as the Queen.
There is an inscription comprising of lines in Sanskrit and Devanagiri script which states the origins of this stepwell. The inscription compares the waters of this stepwell to the holy waters of the Ganges River and Mount Kailash. The inscription is full of praises for Queen Rudabai and compares her to Sita, the heroine of the epic Ramayana.
A notable feature of the structure is the sculpture of Navagraha at the farthest corner of the well which is believed to protect the historic site from evil spirits.
Stepwells are basically deep trenches or rock, cut wells or pools of water reached by a set of stairs or steps and are known by a variety of regional names like ‘bawdi’, baoli’, ‘vav’, ‘vavdi’, ‘vai’, ‘kalyani’, or ‘pushkarni’. The Sanskrit Silpa-Shastras and ancient inscriptions refer to them as ‘Vapi’ or ‘Vapika’.
The term Stepwell defined as “Well with Stairs” may be a window to the ethnicity of forgotten civilizations. These wells were also venues for colourful festivals and sacred rituals, paving the way for an upscale cultural legacy.
The cultural and architectural representations within the stepwell at various levels are a tribute to the history, built initially by Hindus and subsequently ornamented and blended with Islamic architecture.
Built in sand stone in Indo-Islamic style of architecture , the Adalaj stepwell is five stories deep. it’s octagonal (8-sided polygon) in plan at the highest , built on intricately carved sizable amount of pillars. Each floor is spacious enough to supply for people to congregate. From the primary story level, three staircases cause rock bottom water level of the well, which is taken into account as an unique feature of the stepwell.
The square stepped platform is chiselled into a circular well. The top part is a vertical area open to the sky. The four corners of the square are strengthened with stone beams.
India has witnessed many of these Stepwells being reclaimed mostly by women’s. They have been transformed into small shrines where they can worship local goddesses and female deities. Adalaj Stepwell has a similar shrine located adjacent to the outer wall which is being maintained by the local Brahmin women of the community. Women from the neighbouring communities come here to perform the rituals and pray for the blessings of the goddess.
The stepwell at Adalaj is been built along the main caravan route of Ahmedabad and Patan (the then capital of Gujarat) districts, about 13 km away of Ahmedabad
Visiting Hours: 6 am to 6 pm, Daily
Location: Adalaj stepwell is 19 km from Ahmedabad Railway Station
Google map : https://goo.gl/maps/a96XSFbsNX4hQJw67
Cheers, Sheetal Vibhuti (Escaping soul)