Saturday, 24 September 2016

Rani Huda's Step-Well At Adalaj

Introduction

Step-wells are an architecture phenomenon unique to the hot, semi-arid regions of west-central India. Originally conceived as a convenient way to fetch water - you could just walk in, as compared to a draw-well - they slowly evolved over time as centres for gatherings owing to the coolness of the moist earth. This led to an artistic evolution with the ornate step-wells being the pride of the land and their builders. Many of the step-wells have been associated with royalty or rich tradesmen.

Raniji ki baori of Bundi

This post covers the beautiful step-well of Adalaj, not far from Ahmedabad.

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Story Time

The step-well was commissioned by queen Ruda of Vikramsinh Vaghela. The local lore of this step-well goes something like this:

 
The well was to be constructed to provide good water locally

 
 With nine intricately crafted levels

 
  About 80% of the main structure was completed ...
... And Sultan Mahmud Begada attacked the Vaghela kingdom.

 
King Vikramsinh Vaghela fell in the war

 
The Sultan proposed that queen Ruda join his harem.

 
The queen was shrewd (aren't all Indian queens shrewd in a way?)
She agreed on the condition that the well be completed.

 
 However, the artisans refused and were promptly executed. 

 
The remaining lower levels were then completed quickly using bricks 

The now happy queen, promptly jumped into the water and drowned herself

 
... leaving the Suntan dumbfounded

 
 And the banyan tree lost its only companion ...
(I made that up)

Of course, the ASI has a very technical plaque too ...

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How To Reach

Adalaj is located very close to Ahmedabad off the NH147 to Gandhinagar and can be easily covered with a rented cab or rickshaw.

Adalaj on the map

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Other Places in Gujarat

Ahmedabad || Patan || Modhera

© One Of The Road

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