My search for Ancient Indian Stepwells has led me to visit the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat where stepwells are known as Vav. And first on my list of stepwells or Vav to see in Gujarat start with Dada Harir Vav, Ahmedabad.

As all tier 1 cities in India, Ahmedabad also has new and old Ahmedabad & in between there is Sabarmati (river). So to reach Dada Harir Vav, I hired a cab and drove from new Ahmedabad to Aswana in Old Ahmedabad.

FYI – You will be surprised to see the difference between New and Old parts of the city.

Our drive was local, so it took us like 30 minutes to reach Dada Harir Vav, not shining as the new Ahmedabad is and on ground, the Vav looked like an old municipality school. I was a bit sad to see the condition nearby, but that’s not the case inside Dada Harir Vav.

Instead of straight walking in the stepwell, I decided to start taking shots of the mosque behind the Vav. So here it is – The Dada Harir Mosque.

Dada Harir Mosque

Dada Harir Mosque

And just take an 180-degree turn, we have Dada Harir Vav.

Dada Harir Vav view from above

Dada Harir Vav view from above

The above picture is not of the entrance but more like the opposite end of the Vav. So I just walked 20 steps back and here is the path to enter Dada Harir Vav.

Dada Harir Vav entrance

Dada Harir Vav entrance

Dada Harir Vav is a five storey stepwell which isn’t as impressive from the outside, but once you walk inside and reach the 5th floor, you will understand that why I called this Vav as Octagonal Stepwell of Ahmedabad.

In Dada Harir Vav

In Dada Harir Vav (View from third floor)

First, two levels are not very impressive, but from the third floor, the sights of Dada Harir Vav change dramatically.

Here, I noticed some unusual stonework on walls, pillars and the design of Dada Harir Vav is formed in such a way that there is no shortage of sunlight on all its floors.

Jatin Chhabra at Dada Harir Vav Ahmedabad

Me at 3rd floor Dada Harir Vav Ahmedabad

That’s me on its 3rd floor and no shortage of sunshine… (time is around 5:00 PM)

Moving deep into the fifth floor, I finally saw the Octagonal shape of this Stepwell which makes this Dada Harir Vav so unique. Have a look at these pics from floor five of Dada Harir Vav.

All floors of Dada Harir Vav

All floors of Dada Harir Vav

Dada Harir Vav

Dada Harir Vav

Dada Harir Vav from upper groud

Dada Harir Vav from upper ground

The fifth floor is by far the best place to grab pictures for my collection & this is why I mentioned Dada Harir Vav as Octagonal Stepwell because I have never seen such design in any stepwell site I have visited in India.

And with this, I checked the 1st of six stepwells I plan to visit in the state of Gujarat.

How to reach here

Dada Harir Vav is Asarwa area of Old Ahmedabad (Haripura) which is 3-4 km from Ahmedabad Railway station. You can hire an auto rickshaw or a cab for a day.

History behind Dada Harir Vav

Dada Harir Vav was built in 1485 AD when Mahmud Begada was the Sultan of Gujarat. This vav is named after Dhai Harir, who must be a woman with a firm grip in the Sultan’s court, as she got a huge grant to built this impressive Vav. In the mosque behind you will also find the tomb of Dhai Harir.

Timings of Dada Harir Vav

Dada Harir Vav is under ASI, so you can only visit the Vav between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.