Adalaj Stepwell is a unique Hindu ‘water building’ in the village of Adalaj, in Gandhinagar. The stepwell was built in 1499 by Muslim king Mohammed Begda for Queen Rani Roopba, wife of Veer Singh, the Vaghela chieftain. The step well or ‘Vav’, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is five stories in depth. Such step wells were once integral to the semi arid regions of Gujarat as they provided basic water needs for drinking, washing and bathing. These wells were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals.
A research scholar, who studied the history and architecture of the stepwells in Gujarat under a Fulbright Fellowship, has termed these wells as ‘High Hindu Stepwells’ because of the recorded literature of the Brahmins of the period from fifth to ninth centuries, during the ‘High Hindu period’. While the Brahmins were the architects, the builders were artisans of Sompara sect of lowcaste Hindus. A wide unbridgable gulf of religious distinction existed between the two groups, with the former getting all the credit.Before the history of Adalaj Stepwell is stated, it would be informative to mention that the first rock-cut step wells in India are dated from 200 AD to 400 AD. Subsequently, the wells at Dhank (550-625) and construction of stepped ponds at Bhinmal (850-950) took place.
The Adalaj step-well is a popular tourist attraction and is situated 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat. The international airport at Ahmedabad, known as the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, has flights operating to several countries. Gandhinagar is the railway station closest to the stepwell.