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Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Architectural styles : Islamic architecture, Hindu temple architecture

Introduction : Adalaj Stepwellis a unique Hindu 'water building‘. · The stepwell was built in 1499 by Muslim king Mohammed Begda for Queen Rani Roopba. · The step well or 'Vav', as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is five stories in depth.

· To the semi arid regions of Gujarat as they provided basic water needs for drinking, washing and bathing.

· These wells were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals.


Built in sand stone in Indo-Islamic architectural style, the Adalaj stepwell is five stories deep.

· It is octagonal (8-sided polygon) in plan at the top, built on intricately carved large number of pillars.

· Each floor is spacious enough to provide for people to congregate.

· It was dug deep to access ground water at that level, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in water level due to rainfall over the year.

· The air and light vents in the roofs at various floors and at the landing level are in the form of large openings.

· Built along a North-South axis, entrance is from the South, the three staircases are from the South, West and East directions leading to the landing.

· Four small rooms with oriel windows decorated with minutely carved brackets are provided at the landing level, at the four corners.

· At the bottom of the well is a square stepped floor in the shape of a funnel extending to the lowest plane.

· From the first story level, three staircases lead to the bottom water level of the well, which is considered a unique feature.

· The structural system is typically Indian style with traditional trabeat with horizontal beams and lintels.

· The square stepped platform is chiseled into a circular well.

· Above the square floor, columns, beams, wall and arched openings spiral around; a feature that continues to the top.

· The top part of the well, however, is a vertical space open to the sky.

· The four corners of the square are strengthened with stone beams, set at 45 degrees angle.

· Adalaj stepwell is a magnificent example of fusion of Hindu craftsmanship and the floral, geometric pattern of Islamic architecture.

· 5 stories of Adalaj well use cross beams all along their length.

· Events happened during the construction of this well are carved on the walls of the well as it was started by Hindus but decorated in a Islamic style.

· Step wells were used as meeting and resting places during summer since their cool interiors offered unbelievable respite from the scorching sun outside.

· The platform rests on 16 pillars,8 on the corners, and 2 in front of each main side for built in shrines, with doors, windows and balconies, mark the 4 corners of the platform.

· Walls of stepwell are veritable showcase of sculptures and ornamentation.

· The stepped corridor begins from this square platform.

The corridor is entirely surrounded by a1m high parapet wall with a rounded topping

· The motifs of flowers and graphics of Islamic architecture blend very well with the symbols of Hindu and Jain gods carved at various levels of the well.

· The dominant carvings on the upper floors are of elephants (3 inches (76 mm) in size, each of different design).


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