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Adalaj Step Well, Ahmedabad Overview

Adalaj Stepwell is a magnificent structure built brilliantly to curb water crisis in and around Adalaj Village. The stepwell is located at a distance of 3 to 4 kilometres to the south-west of Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat. The Adalaj Stepwell was built in 1498 and is one of the many step wells built in India to provide access to groundwater. The entire architecture is an excellent illustration of the intelligence of the engineers and architects India had even at that time. Walk in, and you will witness a sudden yet soothing drop in temperature. Breathe in the tranquillity, absorb the beauty of the intricate carvings, make a silent wish and rest for a while before you proceed with your plan for the day.

The entire architecture is an excellent illustration of the intelligence of the engineers and architects India had even at that time. Traces of their brilliance can be seen in the strength of the structure, the layout, the designs and the intricate work. From the deities carved on the walls and pillars, one gets an idea of how vital Indian mythology has been for the locals. Walk in, and you will witness a sudden yet soothing drop in temperature.

When it was built, the Adalaj stepwell served as a serene spiritual refuge and a place for resting for exhausted pilgrims. It is a marvellous work of Indian architecture very well preserved in Gujarat. The villagers would fill water every morning here and offer prayers to the deities exquisitely carved into the walls. The place also served as a venue to socialise and celebrate local festivals. One has to experience it for oneself to know how mesmerising this work of architecture is.

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Architecture of Adalaj Step Well

The structure is a beautiful amalgamation of two styles of architecture - the Solanki and the Islamic style. The stepwell is five storeys deep and is made entirely of Sandstone. The structure was built along the North-South axis with the entrance from the south. It stands firmly with a traditional trabeated system with an octagonal top built on huge intricately carved pillars. The depth was maintained to access groundwater, and each floor was designed to be spacious and extremely well ventilated and adequately lit. On the first floor, one can also find the marble slab with an inscription in Sanskrit signifying the establishment of the structure.

The topmost part of the Adalaj stepwell is a structure with only engraved beams and pillars and no roof. This allows enough light to enter. There are three staircases that lead to the bottom water level of the stepwell. These staircases extend from the East, West and South directions and they lead to the landing on the northern part of the stepwell. The landing has four small rooms - one in each corner. These rooms have bay windows with sophisticated carvings. The bottom of the well consists of a square step-like structure that descends in the shape of a funnel and reaches a brilliantly chiselled circular well. Each square floor is adorned by beautifully carved pillars, beams and arched openings that spiral from the top to the bottom.

The designs on this architectural monument is a wonderful amalgamation of the Indo-Islamic styles. The traditional floral designs of Islamic origin are seen to be fused brilliantly with the carvings of the Hindu and Jain Gods and Goddesses. These patterns are seen on all the floors. Other than this, there are carvings of a King overlooking his subjects, dancers and musicians performing for spectators, women performing their daily chores and women adorning themselves with traditional ornaments. Some interesting features in the carvings include the depiction of Ami Khumbor which symbolises the pot of water of life, the tree of life - also known as the Kalp Vriksha and the Navagraha or the nine planets.

Unique Features of the Adalaj Step Well

The ceiling of the step well has an opening which allows the entry of light and air into the premises of the octagonal structure. However, the construction is such that direct sunlight does not touch the steps or landings except for a brief period at noon. This allows the temperature inside the well to be around six degrees cooler than the outside. Another remarkable feature of Adalaj step well is that out of the step wells in Gujarat, it is the only one with three entrance stairs. These stairs meet at the first storey which has an octagonal opening on top.

History of the Adalaj Step Well

The structure is a beautiful amalgamation of two styles of architecture - the Solanki and the Islamic style. The stepwell is five storeys deep and is made entirely of Sandstone. The structure was built along the North-South axis with the entrance from the south. It stands firmly with a traditional trabeated system with an octagonal top built on huge intricately carved pillars. The depth was maintained to access groundwater, and each floor was designed to be spacious and extremely well ventilated and adequately lit. On the first floor, one can also find the marble slab with an inscription in Sanskrit signifying the establishment of the structure.

The topmost part of the Adalaj stepwell is a structure with only engraved beams and pillars and no roof. This allows enough light to enter. There are three staircases that lead to the bottom water level of the stepwell. These staircases extend from the East, West and South directions and they lead to the landing on the northern part of the stepwell. The landing has four small rooms - one in each corner. These rooms have bay windows with sophisticated carvings. The bottom of the well consists of a square step-like structure that descends in the shape of a funnel and reaches a brilliantly chiselled circular well. Each square floor is adorned by beautifully carved pillars, beams and arched openings that spiral from the top to the bottom.

The designs on this architectural monument is a wonderful amalgamation of the Indo-Islamic styles. The traditional floral designs of Islamic origin are seen to be fused brilliantly with the carvings of the Hindu and Jain Gods and Goddesses. These patterns are seen on all the floors. Other than this, there are carvings of a King overlooking his subjects, dancers and musicians performing for spectators, women performing their daily chores and women adorning themselves with traditional ornaments. Some interesting features in the carvings include the depiction of Ami Khumbor which symbolises the pot of water of life, the tree of life - also known as the Kalp Vriksha and the Navagraha or the nine planets.

Water Festival at the Adalaj Step Well

The annual Water Festival in Adalaj-Ni-Vav, held in November is organised to celebrate The World Heritage Week which is an initiative taken by the Tourism Department of Gujarat. The entire Stepwell is gorgeously lit, and various entertainment programs are arranged at the venue.

Tips For Visiting Adalaj Step Well

1. Do wear a hat as the sun is pretty harsh there.
2. Carry enough water and keep yourself hydrated.
3. Watch your step as you explore the corridors.

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