Adalaj Stepwell Ahmedabad

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1. First visited in 2003. That time fewer homes and people. One walks down steps till you reach the well. Each level has a platform and pillars. There is a corridor on either side by which u can reach, like in Patan, but now closed. "Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, wife of Vaghela chief, Veersinh, this five-storey stepwell was not just a cultural and utilitarian space, but also a spiritual refuge."

2. The oblong step-well runs from south to north that descends into a spacious landing with octagonal opening supported on 8 pillars. U saw in previous pic. Next walk down steps into an octagonal well shaft on north. The shaft is 5 storeys. It has spiral staircase on both sides. Column pillars around shaft are decorated. A panel showing 9 planets is found on 2 storey on eastern side of octagonal shaft.

3. Top view north side. 1st cover is for the main well. 2nd is where water from well overflowed. Top of well covered now, earlier it was open allowing for sunlight and air to flow in.

4.Front view ie from above octagonal landing. Every level has a landing area. Below every landing area on either side is a sculpture. Note marigold flowers on right of pic. However, access to this area not allowed now. Had seen in 2003 though.

5. Entry to step-well. U can see octagonal well shaft here. Within minutes of my reaching area was very packed. It is the only step-well with 3 entrance stairs.

6. Close up of pillar top in landing area, note the intricate work. " 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."

7. Pilllars top decoration in octagonal area. Every pillar going up to the end has similar decoration.

8. Centre is a jharoka or balcony with left side columns upto the step-well. There are 4 such jharokhas, two on each side. Very popular with tourists who sit there and like to be clicked.

9. This is one of jharokhas, intricate work.

10. Lower part of jharokha. Centre of pic has 2 elephants, warrrior on horse and a shield along with a mythical animal on both sides.

11. Another jharokha. Intricate work.

12. U see entrance to step-well. Saw numerous students from schools of architecture making drawings and exchanging notes.

13. Pillar design, left is jharokha that you saw earlier.

14.Close up of carving on right side wall next to jharokha. Looks like a pot of water. Not sure if it is "Ami Khumbor (a pot that contains the water of life)".

15. View once I crossed level one ie height of octagonal landing.

16. Side wall view ie all along the step-well. There are elephants at bottom of pic.

17. Landing area two has niches which contain these designs. Bottom is kalash. There is an image of God Adalaj, in one of the niches. Unfortunately entry restricted.

18. View of another niche on landing area two. Not sure if this is " Kalp Vriksha (a tree of life) carved out of a single slab of stone."

19. Level 3 columns design is exquisite. In Gujarat step-wells are called Vav. In Rajasthan they are called Baoris.

20. Note the intricate work. Try and go early morning since opens at 6 am. Less crowd.

21. Bottom up view. Gives a sense of how pillars look.

22. View of pillar design along with other pillars.

23. Vertical view from level 3. Just loved this pic. The step-well has a temperature ie invariably six degrees lower than outside.

24. We are approaching the well now. This pic gives you a close up. Note pic top area opens to sky. U can see niches at both levels. Due to restricted access could not see what was inside them.

25.Last landing area. End of pic is main well. Before that is over flow area ie also octagonal shaped.

26. This pic has various. Bottom centre end of pic is well, before that overflow area. This octagonal shaped area has eight pillars that are well decorated.

27. Come to octagonal shaft which has pillars all around. The shaft is 5 storeys.

28. Vertical view of shaft columns. It was very sunny so did not take pic of last storey.

29. Bottom octagonal shaft. When water from the well overflowed it came here. There are steps up to this point (although access not allowed). Assume that woman walked down the steps and took water OR could do so from the well directly. Niches have images of goddesses. Seen pics where the well had more water. In January 2018 little water.

30. View of highly decorated octagonal shaft. Missed taking a guide.

31. West side view of octagonal shaft. Second floor of shaft has a panel showing 9 planets NAVAGRAHA. Do check out the album on Navagraha Temples of Tamil Nadu.

32. East side close up of niche.

33. Well taken from top.

34. Close up of highly decorated panels in octagonal shaft.

35. West side view of decorated panel. When I visited in 2003 one could walk around the shaft floor wise, no longer.

36. Another view of decorated panel.

37. The aesthetics of this step-well I shall always remember. To see pictures of all step-wells on eSamskriti Click Here

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