First thing first, I recently became a wedding photographer – I’m now a Pro, Bro!! But the best thing about being a wedding photographer is not getting to shoot a lot of beautiful people, but you get to visit places you never imagined you would visit otherwise.
One such wedding assignment took me all the way to Ahmedabad. After the wedding, I and my friends went around the City for a mini sight-seeing. I have already written a post on the interesting things I saw in Ahmedabad and you can read it here.
This post is about our short visit to a place called Adalej. Adalej is on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and the tourist attraction there is a very old stepwell. When we told the cab driver to take us to Adalej, he said, “wow” and he kept repeating the word ‘wow’. A cab driver who appreciates the importance of an ancient architecture is a rare specimen, and I was like, “oh, wow”, only to realize later that in Gujarati language the stepwell is called ‘Vav’ and he was only trying to confirm whether we meant to visit ‘Vav’.
I heard there are many stepwells across the state of Gujarat, but the one in Adalej is definitely the most popular. Its popularity is not just down to the marvelous architecture, the well has an interesting and intriguing story behind the construction.
According to legend (and Wikipedia), in the 15th century, Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty, a Hindu ruler, reigned over the territory. His kingdom was attacked by Mohammed Begda, the Muslim ruler of a neighboring kingdom. The Rana king was killed and his territory occupied by the invader. Rana Veer Singh’s widow, a beautiful lady known by the name Rani Roopba, though in deep grief at the death of her husband, agreed to a marriage proposal made by Mahmud Begada on the condition that he would first complete the building of the stepwell.
The Muslim king who was deeply enamoured of the queen’s beauty agreed to the proposal and built the well in record time. Once the well was completed, Begda reminded the queen of her promise to marry him. Instead the queen who had achieved her objective of completing the stepwell started by her husband, decided to end her life, as mark of devotion to her husband. She circumambulated the stepwell with prayers and jumped into the well, ending the saga of building the well in tragedy. These events are depicted on the walls of the well. Begda however allowed the well to remain without any defacing.
Another legend is linked to the tombs found just above the well. These are the tombs of six masons who built the well. Begda asked the Masons if they could build another similar well. When they agreed Begda put them to death instead. Begda was so impressed by the architectural excellence of the stepwell that he did not want a replica to be built.
When we reached the place, I was surprised to find a large crowd of visitors because we were told that we may not see anyone at all in the place, but luckily there is no standing in the queue to get a ticket as entry is free.
The Vav definitely exceeded my expectations. Now the pics:
You may require a wide angle lens to capture the well from close range in one single shot. The below image is one my friends looking down at the stairs below. The well is actually five stories below the ground level.
Another friend sitting on one of the tombs without realizing its importance. Honestly, none of us knew the history of the place while we were there. I only learned it when I was researching in Internet about the place to write this post.
The stepwell is a large sprawling structure. On the roof:
P.S: You can read more about the place here: http://talesalongtheway.com/2013/10/10/the-vision-of-queen-ruda/