Architectural Pride of Gujarat: The Adalaj Stepwell

The Adalaj Stepwell

The structure of ITC Narmada an ode to one of the most significant architectural markers of Gujarat, the stepwell of Adalaj, called Adalaj ni Vaav in Gujarati. Named after the village in which it is located, it is known for its elaborate, descending, geometrical design that leads to a circular water tank in the centre. Five stories deep, this stepwell was commissioned by Rudabai, in the memory of her husband Rana Veer Singh who was defeated by Sultan Mohmmad Begda. According to the story inscribed on its walls, after the completion of the stepwell in 1499, Rudabai plunged into its waters to avoid the advances of the Sultan. The architectural design of the stepwell is a harmonious play of Islamic, Hindu and Jain emblems. The motif of a stepwell underpins the importance of conserving and preservation water in a semi-arid landscape [PK1] of Gujarat. Often associated with fertility and abundance, the stepwell embodies ideas of both- femininity and patronage, because the gift of water for public use was considered greatest act of charity that brought good fortune to the patron. As you look up at the sky light from the atrium, you’ll find yourself experiencing a feeling of standing at the bottom of an inverted stepwell looking up to the glass ceiling reflecting the sky above. The façade of ITC Narmada truly exemplifies the landmark architectural heritage of Gujarat, fusing the historical and the contemporary ways of seeing.

Reference - Tayyibji, R. (2016). Ancient Stepwells of Ahmedabad: A Conversation on Water and Heritage. Sutra Journal.

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