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Adalaj Stepwell

Viewing a construction, which has every inch speaking of futuristic trends, is a rarity. But, in India, there are some structures of historical importance which have put modern day designers and craftsmen to rethink that they are doing something which already is in existence. Adalaj step well in Gujarat is one of those historical monuments and structures, which force people to marvel at the hidden treasures of India and its culture. Near to the city of Ahmadabad in Gujarat, is a step well in a quaint little village of Adalaj which speaks about the architectural awesomeness of those eras.

What is Adalaj step Well

Known as Adalaj ni Vav, the stone structure is a well built to provide water to the people of that area. It is rather called as a water building in Hindu beliefs. The Adalaj ni Vav was built in 15th century, one of the various such wells for social water supply or for personal use by various royal people. There are plenty of such wells in the semi arid region of Gujarat, Adalaj being one of these and also quite well known. Although, most of these were constructed to store water during the rainy season, some like Adalaj step well also had architectural embellishments to put a stamp of the patronage by local Rajput or Muslim rulers.


Adalaj step well is situated in a place called Adalaj about 18 kms from the north of Ahmadabad city and about 5 kms from the capital city of Gandhinagar. When tourists visit Ahmadabad or Gandhinagar, they can easily pay a visit to this step well to see its architecture and a rare form of step well in Gujarat. Since airport, rail and road communications to Ahmadabad are well established, it is easy to access this particular historical architectural masterpiece. Kalupur railway station in Ahmadabad is the closest to this step well.


Going up to a height of about 5 stories, Adalaj ni Vav has been carved with various architectural style, merging Indian and Islamic designs. From the top, it is octagonal in shape with a hole directly over the water body. Various floors are supported by intricately designed pillars. There are air and light vents at different levels arranged in such a way that sunlight doesn’t fall on the stairs or the passageways, except for the well. Three entrances are present in this structure which leads to the first floor landing. Building structure is in Indian style, while the designs on the pillars and walls are depicting Islamic styles. Two important structures present inside this step well are the ‘Ami Khumboor’ meaning ‘a pot of water of life’ and ‘Kalp Vriksha’ meaning the ‘tree of life’, these were carved from a single rock. Frescos representing the nine planets can also be found here. Most of the designs are depictions from the daily life of local people, with ladies talking to each other, king sitting on stool, dancers and musicians.

History and Legend of the Step Well

During 15th century, the region was known as Dandai Desh and ruled by a Hindu king, Rana Veer Singh of Vaghela dynasty. When Mohammad Begda attacked and defeated the king, he proposed the beautiful widow of Rana to marry him. Queen Roopba put forth a condition prior to the marriage to complete this well, but at the end, she ended her life by jumping into this well. It is also believed that there are few tombs near to this structure, which belongs to the masons and architects of this beautiful step well, they were killed by the Muslim ruler as he didn’t want another replica to be built.

Adalaj ni Vav or step well is an example of the structural brilliance in Indian history. It also depicts the master craftsmanship of the people in Gujarat which tells about the importance of such dug wells in the social life of people in this semi arid state of India.

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Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell

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