Adalaj is a small village, situated at a distance of 18 km to the north of Ahmedabad. Vav means a step well. Adalaj Vav was built by Queen Rudabai, in 1499 AD. She was the wife of the Vaghela chief, Veer Sinh. A beautifully chiseled step well, Adalaj Vav is counted amongst the finest architectural structures of Gujarat. According to the folklore, Sultan Beghara killed the Vaghela King, Veer Sinh, in order to expand his territory. He then sent a marriage proposal to his wife, Queen Rudabai.
She begged for sometime from the Sultan, so that she could complete the
Vav that she was building in the memory of her loving husband. The
Sultan agreed without knowing the true intentions of the queen. Queen
Rudabai dragged the construction work for 20 long years. Losing
patience, the Sultan again insisted for marriage. He queen reciprocated
by jumping from one of the balconies in the well. It is said that she
took Jal Samadhi in order to save her honor and to please the Jal Devi
to maintain constant flow of water in the well.
Adalaj Vav is adorned with intricate carvings and splendid sculptures.
The walls of the well depict figures of flowers, birds, fish and other
ornamental designs. There are a number of corridors and platforms
surrounding the well. The three entrances contain steps that reach upto
the stepped corridors. These corridors meet on a platform, which has an
octagonal opening on the top. The missing canopy of the well tells us
that it is still not complete.
The unique feature of Adalaj Vav is that apart from conserving water
for drinking purposes, it also serves as a cooling chamber in the hot
summer months. The steps of the well were used by the travelers and
caravans passing from the area, on the due course of their trade routes.
With time, the well has become a memorial of the love of the queen for
her husband. One can still see water in the well which is a living
example of spirit of the queen.