Exploring the Adalaj Stepwell in Gujarat

Visiting the Adalaj Stepwell

Quench your thirst for art & history by experiencing the Adalaj Stepwell. Arguably the most intriguing structure in Gujarat. While it is a well for all intents and purposes, this structure is nothing short of an underground palace. Moreover, this humongous stepwell has 5 storeys.

The Adalaj Stepwell was created using sandstones in 1499. It’s truly an enticing work of art involving Indo-Islamic architecture. What’s just as compelling as the structure itself is its history and the legends surrounding this extravagant structure. Here’s a little about that.

Who built the Adalaj Stepwell and when?

So, King Rana Veer Singh is the one who first started the construction back in 1498. He was a part of the Vaghela Dynasty and ruled over this little town called Dandai Desh. Same town which is Adalaj today. The reason behind building a deep step well was because of water shortage in his kingdom. But before he could complete building the well, he was attacked by a neighboring ruler and killed. Mohammed Begda was the one who then came to power here.

However, Rana Veer Singh’s wife was to commit sati to be with her husband. Somehow, she was convinced against it by Mohammed Begda. He asked her to marry him and she agreed to it on a simple condition. Which was to complete building the stepwell. An act of love, loyalty and kindness towards the people of the kingdom. Her beauty was enough to convince Begda. The 5 storied stepwell was eventually completed by 1499, thanks to Queen Rudaibai.

Here’s the kicker, Queen Rudaibai eventually did end up killing herself by jumping in the very same well. She clearly felt like death was better than marrying Begda. Now, this part is definitely a legend. There are a couple of other legends surrounding the stepwell and the masons who helped build it. In any case, this mesmeric monument close to Gandhinagar in Gujarat has truly stood the test of time.

Best time to visit Adalaj Stepwell?

The structure is open throughout the year. You can visit anytime and the trip will always be worth it. But if you want to witness a considerable amount of water in the well, monsoon will be the best time to visit. From a weather point of view, mid October to March is considered as the best time to visit. Note that it’s best to visit during the noon or when it’s bright outside. That way, the sunlight seeps into the Octagonal structure and lights it up from above.

The timings here are 6 am to 6 pm. Visiting the place right before sunrise will definitely be a different experience altogether. You could choose to do that and know how different the stepwell feels in the light of the day and before the day break.

How to get to Adalaj Stepwell?

By Air – The nearest airport is the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad. It’s just around 16 kms away. You can easily get a bus or a cab from here and the journey will also be a short one.

By Rail – Gandhinagar railway station is the closest. Just about 11 kms or so. From there it’s less than a 30 minutes drive to reach the stepwell. The other option is Ahmedabad airport which isn’t too far either. Around 21 kms away.

By Road – Be it rickshaws, buses or cabs, they are all easily accessible here. Depends on your preference. Getting from Gandhinagar is just as easy and the journey is actually shorter.

What makes the Adalaj Stepwell special?

The architectural work, the intricate designs and the structure of the stepwell in whole. There’s an opening at the roof of the stepwell which acts as the source of light and air. It is believed that the temperature inside the stepwell is 5 degrees lesser. According to some legends, women would spend a lot of time here during summers, when they would visit to get water. It became their chilling spot of sorts. Which totally makes sense if you ask us.

Another fascinating thing is that Adalaj Stepwell is the only stepwell which has three entrance stairs. Each of them meet on the first floor. This where you can see the Octagon shaped opening on top. One more really cool thing here on the first storey are the windows. You will see small chambers of sorts with really amazing windows that protrude out of the wall. The motifs and carvings on the stones can be really immersive in their own way.

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