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Adalaj Vav, Ahmedabad

Adalaj Vav Overview

Adalaj is a village 18 kms to the north of Ahmedabad . The 'Vav' (step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda, wife of the Vaghela chief, Virsinh; who built it in the 15th or 16th century AD. The 'Vav', laid out in the north-south direction, the step well with the well in the north and the entrance in the south, has a total length of 75.3 metres. It is the only major monument of its kind, having three entrance stairs leading to the stepped corridor. These three entrances meet in the first storey, underground, in a huge square platform. The platform has an octagonal opening on the top. THE STRUCTURE The platform rests on 16 pillars, eight on the corners, and two in front of each main side. Four built-in shrines, with doors, windows and balconies, mark the four corners of the platform. The stepped corridor begins from this square platform. The corridor is entirely surrounded by a one-metre high parapet wall with a rounded topping. It descends with four pavilion towers for five storeys. The walls of the 'Vav' are veritable showcases of sculptures and ornamentation. The sculptures range from a king sitting on a stool under a parasol, to erotic scenes; and from ladies churning buttermilk to dancing girls. The frames of the doors around the entrances of the spiral staircases to the octagonal shaft are surrounded by a 'parikrama', which is an enlarged version of the frames around the niches. Stringcourses running along the sidewalls embellish all parts of the structure, sometimes dividing the wall into horizontal sections. They also appear on the walls of the octagonal shaft, depicting floral or leaf patterns, or rows of animals.

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