There are many tourist attractions in India which have love stories behind them (like Taj Mahal) or some tragic tales, but the Adalaj Vav in Gujarat is a unique site which has all of it.
Love & respect of a Queen for her King & people, and a tragic end which the locals still remember.
On Day 2 of my trip to Gujarat, I decided to start the day with a voyage to Adalaj village, 18 km from Ahmedabad and 3-4 km from Gandhinagar (Capital of Gujarat).
Adalaj Vav is the second stepwell site I visited after Dada Harir Vav and is the 1st stepwell where I have seen drinkable water. There isn’t any entry ticket for this stepwell, but nevertheless, this Vav is well preserved.
Now before I start adding the collection of images I have for Adalaj Vav, I must share a small story which I heard from the locals (& there is a documentary on Epic Channel). It’s a tragic tale of a widow queen Rani Roopba or Rudabai.
The tragic take of Queen Rudabai
Adalaj Vav construction started in late 16th century by King Rana Veer Singh. He was from the Vaghela dynasty who were the rulers of Dandai Desh, which I assume was the region of near Gandhinagar, Gujarat. At that time, Gujarat was under the control of Mahmud Begada (Sultan of Gujarat).
Rana Veer Singh people in Adalaj were suffering from water crisis & they had to walk miles to get water for their daily needs. So, he decided to create a Vav to solve this crisis, but he couldn’t conclude the work as he died in a battle against Mahmud Begada.
When Mahmud Begada first met with Rana Veer Singh widow wife, Queen Rudabai, he fell in love with her and ordered her to marry him. Queen Rudabai didn’t refuse this offer, but she put a condition that Mahmud Begada will first complete the unfinished work of Vav, started by her late husband, Rana Veer Singh.
Mahmud Begada accepted this condition and made significant efforts to construct a beautiful Vav which is a fusion of Hindu, Jain, and Islamic traditions.
By 1599 AD, Adalaj Vav was built, but Mahmud Begada couldn’t marry Rudabai as she committed suicide by Jumping in Adalaj Vav’s well.
Even today, Adalaj Vav is described as Rudabai Vav, named after the queen who sacrificed her life instead of marrying a Sultan. And this is the tragic story associated with Adalaj Vav.
Now a tour of Adalaj Vav
To reach Adalaj Vav, I hired a cab from Ahmedabad, and it took us around 40 minutes to reach. The first site which I saw here was a temple & just next to it is the 1st of three entry gate of Adalaj Vav.
From here I walked 20 steps to reach to 1st floor, which has these two beautiful windows, with mind blowing stone work done on them. Have a look at them in the below pictures.
From here I walked beneath, and the two interesting things here are pillars with heavy carving work and window type artifact with stone plants, leaves and flowers carved in them. Have a look at the below images:
And finally the last floor of Adalaj Vav, which is a heaven for any art lover. This part of the stepwell has astonishing artwork done in its beam, pillars and the view of all five different floors, shining with sunlight is simply amazing.
Every corner of this fifth floor is designed so neatly that it shows that Sultan Mohammad Begada had an enormous crush on Queen Rudabai. He was ready to spend a fortune to built a magnificent Stepwell in Gujarat.
Check out these images which I took from the fifth floors of Adalaj or Rudabai Vav stepwell.
With this, I have now covered the second stepwell site in the state and moving towards Modhera Sun Temple in Modhera village, Mehsana to capture the third of five stepwell sites I have planned to visit in Gujarat.
Here are some images which I took while coming back to the ground level of Adalaj Vav Stepwell.
Location of Adalaj Vav
This stepwell is in Adalaj village, which is just next to Gandhinagar. From Ahmedabad, its 18 km and you need to either hire a cab or catch a bus for Gandhinagar.
Timings of the Vav
Though there is no entry ticket to enter, still the site is maintained by local authorities. So I would suggest visiting Adalaj Vav between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.