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India: Gujarat: Adalaj, Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Little Rann of Kutch, Mandvi, Modhera, Nal Sarovar, Patan
Adalaj, Gujarat, India: Well that made the town famous
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Adalaj Ni Vav, simply translated means a well with steps in the town of Adalaj. Adalaj Stepwell is a unique Hindu 'water building' in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad town in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat.
The stepwell was built in 1499 by Muslim king Mohammed Begda for Queen Rani Roopba, wife of Veer Singh, the Vaghela chieftain. The stepwell is intricately carved and is five stories in depth. Such step wells were once integral to the semi-arid regions of Gujarat as they provided basic water needs for drinking, washing and bathing. These wells were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals.
Stepwells, also called stepped ponds, built between the 5th and 19th centuries, are common in the west of India; over 120 such wells are reported in the semi-arid region of Gujarat alone, of which the well at Adalaj is most popular. Stepwells were built to collect rain water during seasonal monsoons. While many such structures are utilitarian in construction, they sometimes include significant architectural embellishments, as in the Adlaj step well. In the past, these stepwells were frequented by travelers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes.
Adalaj is only about a 30-minute drive from Ahmedabad. A visit is recommended.
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