Gujarat has always undergone water shortages due to its climatic and geographical conditions. Therefore, as a remedy for that, the rulers and kings through the centuries constructed simple stepwells in Gujarat. However, over time, more focus was put on its architecture and decoration. In Gujarati, a stepwell is called a ‘Vav,’ and these are the ones you must not miss at any cost:
Rani Ki Vav, Patan
Also known as Queen’s Stepwell, this ones a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you had to pick just one of the many step wells in Gujarat, let it be Rani Ki Vav. Constructed in the 11th-century, in the memory of King Bhimdev by his widow, Queen Udayamati, this step well was excavated in the late 1980s, by the Archaeological Survey of India. The highlight of this place are its ornately carved steps, with various forms of gods and goddesses. These carvings are related to Lord Vishnu and other divine mythical forms such as the Vishkanyas and Apsaras.
The Adalaj Stepwell, Gandhinagar
Approximately 18 kilometres north of Ahmedabad, Adalaj ni Vav has a tragic story behind its existence. Legend goes that, King Veer Singh started building the stepwell in the 15th-century, when a Muslim ruler attacked the region, killing the king. The Muslim invader fell in love with the dead king’s queen, and was promised her hand in marriage if he finished the stepwell in honour of the dead king. He then completed the stepwell, with a touch of Islamic architectural style. However, in the end, the queen jumped in and gave up her life here.
Dada Harir Vav, Ahmedabad
Strikingly similar in its appearance to Adalaj ni Vav, Dada Harir Vav was built by Mahmud Begada’s harem superintendent. The stepwell was built in 1499; a gorgeous five stories structure with an octagonal pattern and beautiful carved pillars. The distinctive quality of the well is that even the bottom most part receives sunlight.
Navlakhi Vav, Vadodara
Laxmi Vilas Palace is home to the 15th-century Navlakhi Vav, which was believed to be made after nine lakh gold coins were spent in its construction. While earlier, it provided water to the entire Laxmi Vilas Palace, now it helps in the irrigation of the golf course next to it.
Ramkund Stepwell, Bhuj
The 56-feet deep Ramkund Stepwell is known for its beautiful wall carvings with portrayals from the Indian epic – Ramayana including carvings of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. The stepwell is behind Ram Dhun Temple, which also deserves a visit when you’re here.