Adalaj Stepwell

The flamboyant 15th-century stepwell, has lost only little of its grandeur over the previous couple of centuries. Till date, the intricate carvings on the pillars that support the five storeys are mostly intact; the beams work as pit stops for pigeons flying in and out and the structure still leaves jaws dropped for swarms of individuals . The step-well represents the Indo-Islamic fusion architecture that percolated through the various stepwells of the amount . There are some fascinating features of the vav that make this a crucial emblem of superior architecture. The opening within the ceilings above the landing allows light and air to enter the octagonal well, but direct sunlight never touches the steps except at noon. It is said that the temperature inside the well is six degrees cooler than outside. The stepwell has three entrances. The stairs lead to an underground storey, which has an octagonal opening on top. The walls are covered in ornamental carvings with mythological and village scenes. Some of them include Ami khumbor (a pot that contains the water of life) and therefore the Kalp vriksha (a tree of life) carved out of one slab of stone. There is a belief that the tiny frieze of Navagraha (nine-planets) towards the sting of the well protects the monument from bad omens.

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