The Adalaj Stepwell
Set in the quiet village of Adalaj, this vav has served as a resting place for hundreds of years for many pilgrims and caravans along their trade routes. Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, wife of the Vaghela chief, Veersinh, this five-storey stepwell was not just a cultural and utilitarian space, but also a spiritual refuge. It is believed that villagers would come everyday in the morning to fill water, offer prayers to the deities carved into the walls and interact with each other in the cool shade of the vav. There is an opening in the ceilings above the landing which allows the light and air to enter the octagonal well. However, direct sunlight does not touch the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon. Hence some researchers say that the atmosphere inside the well is six degrees cooler than the outside.
About 8 kms. from the city, Sarkhej comprises one of the most elegant architectural complexes of Ahmedabad. Grouped around a great stepped tank is the tomb to the saint, Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh (1445), the mosque, the tombs of Mehmud Shah Begada and his queen, and the palace and pavilions. The buildings are remarkable for the complete absence of arches and the use of pierced stone trellises throughout
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