A travel guide to Adalaj ni Vav Step Well | Ahmedabad | Gujarat


It was my first visit to the state of Gujarat and also my first visit outside Maharastra, after I shifted my work location .Everything was new, right from language to the food .The bus travel from Pune to Ahmedabad took around 11 hours .I alighted at satellite bus stop ,meet my relatives and after freshening up I decided for a city tour of Ahmedabad city . I had read a lot about this beautiful city and Sabarmati. I planned to visit Kite museum , Akshardham Temple, Sabarmati Ashram and Vikram Sarabhai Space museum . But the day being Monday , to my shock I came to know from my friend that most of the public places ,museums and Akshardham temple alike, remains closed on that day .Damn Monday!!

While casually discussing with my friend ,he suggested me to visit a place called Adalaj some 30km from Ahmedabad . I had never heard of this place from google but still I reluctantly went out on the rainy morning for Adalaj . It took me around 1 hour to reach there . I was expecting big forts or museums but what I saw instead was a small stair case leading to a flat land . That’s what I was able to see from the parking area . But a big surprise was waiting for me there. Once I reached the flat land ,what I saw was a huge step well leading inside many feets down the ground level . That’s got me into a total surprise .Only when I descended down the stair well , I was able to see its total grandeur.It was huge and could count it to be 5 storied high .Its sheer architectural scale and architectural beauty mesmerized me .

It was bit early for some one to visit this place and on top it was raining that day .So only few visitors could be seen . I happen to find the caretaker lazily surveying the visitors activities . I went to him and initiated a conversation. Came to know from him that this step well was built in 14th century by Queen Rudabai. It was a common thing in the arid and semi-arid regions of India, especially in Gujarat and Rajasthan to have step wells . These stepwells were called as Vav in Gujrati and Baori in Rajasthani. These step wells were always been a part of the history for this region – the oldest stepwells are believed to have been built at Mohanjodaro during the Indus-Valley civilization. It served as a resting place for hundreds of years for many pilgrims and caravans along their trade routes.And it is believed that in the past the villagers would gather there everyday in the morning to fill water, offer prayers to the deities carved into the walls and spend some time chatting with each other under the cool shade of the vav.



Me and my friend while descending down the stair well


Carving in the lower side of the well


Beautifully carved


Another pic of the carvings



View from the 2nd storey – Superbly carved pillars


Rain coming down the upper floors




Reminded me of a video game scene .


The whole well is designed in the shape of octagon and there is an opening in the ceilings above the landing which allows the light and air to enter inside. However, direct sunlight do not touch the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon. You can feel that the temperature inside is much cooler than the outside which some saying it to be six degree cooler compared to outside temperature. Another remarkable feature of this stepwell at Adalaj is that out of the many stepwells in Gujarat, it is the only one having three entrance stairs. And all the three stairs meet at the first storey of this Vav. The vav showcase a spectacular example of Indo-Islamic architecture and design. All the inside walls are very ornamentally  carved with mythological scenes ,along with the day to day scenes of women working ,dancers , musicians with their instruments and relaxing people .It’s a wonderful place for history lovers and ancient architecture lovers .Truely worth a visit while in Ahmedabad

The Adalaj step well can be reached from the Ahmedabad city by shared taxis and by Radio cabs as well . I started from from a place called Satellite bus stop and it was around 25km to Adalaj . Shared taxi charged me Rs 50 then and reserved autorickshaw to Satellite charged me Rs120 during my return .


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