Stepwells in Gujarat stand as the epitome of India’s architectural supremacy today. But, once upon a time, they were a smart way in which the locals used to conserve water in an otherwise barren land. Owing to the scorching heat and high temperatures in the state of Gujarat, it is necessary to make conservation units that will keep water from evaporating quickly! Because these stepwells were so important for the livelihood of people, the Kings paid keen attention to make them stand out and look spectacular!
Isn’t that absolutely fascinating!?
You will find a lot of stepwells in Gujarat that have intricate carvings, frescos at several levels, and enigmatic artwork of our talented ancestors. Apart from being crucial water sources, some also have spiritual and religious significance.
Here are the 9 most sought-after stepwells in Gujarat. If you visit the marvellous state, do not miss out on these beauties!
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The Top 9 Alluring Stepwells in Gujarat
1 – Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj Stepwell is constructed in the Indo-Islamic style in the year 1498. It is well-known for its spiritual carvings, idols of deities, and inscriptions that hold great spiritual significance for the Hindus and Jains. It is also considered to be a symbol of love because Rani Rudadevi constructed this splendid stepwell in memory of her late husband Rana Veer Singh. It is a structure that stands as proof of his legacy and valour. This was once the perfect reservoir to preserve water seeing how the temperature within the walls is at least 5 degrees less than the outside temperature. This way, the water doesn’t evaporate easily. When you visit Adalaj Stepwell, do not forget to get a glimpse of the image of Kalpa Vriksha carved out of a single slab.
Location: Adalaj Rd, Adalaj, Gujarat 382421
Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
2 – Adi Kadi Vav
Adi Kadi Vav is one of the most mysterious stepwells in Gujarat. Though people say that it was built around the 15th CE, no one is absolutely sure about when it was actually constructed. Unlike other stepwells that we will be discussing, this doesn’t have any pillars or intricate designs. It is carved out of a single stone in the Nanda style of architecture. Moreover, there are interesting stories associated with this stepwell. It is said that when this water reservoir was constructed in the beginning, there was not even a single drop of water in the well shaft. The royal priest advised the King to sacrifice two young maidens – Adi and Kadi and after this was done, water was found. Some also said that Adi and Kadi are two royal maids who used to frequently fetch water from this stepwell. People who come to visit Adi Kadi Vav leave bangles and feminine clothes on the nearby tree as an offering to Adi and Kadi.
Location: GFGC+PPP, Uparkot, Gujarat 362001
Timings: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
3 – Dada Harir Stepwell
The Dada Harir Stepwell in Ahmedabad was not just a water reservoir but also a place where women used to socialise! When you look at its authentic Solanki-style architecture, you will see that each level is properly spaced out to accommodate space for people to stand and move around. In the olden days, women used to come to fetch water and also complete their daily share of chit-chatting. This is one of the famous stepwells in Gujarat and was built in 1485 by Dhai Harir. He was the main superintendent of the Royal Harem. Today, you can visit Dada Harir Vav to see the precise carvings, inscriptions in both Sanskrit and Arabic, the thick pillars and the rustic atmosphere. Just like the Adalaj stepwell, you will find that the temperature dips once you start descending the stairs.
If you are planning to visit Dada Harir Stepwell, book your accommodation at Treebo Hotels in Ahmedabad for quicker commuting and a comfortable stay experience.
Location: Hanumansingh Rd, Haripura, Asarwa, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380016
Timings: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
4 – Wankaner Palace Stepwell
The Wankaner Palace stepwell is one of the most recently constructed stepwells in Gujarat. The main intention behind this structure was not to serve as a water source but to remain as a summer retreat for the then-Gujarat royal family. But it is commendable to see how such an exemplary stepwell was constructed very smartly near the Macchu River. The former British officials were the ones who laid down the first building block for this marvellous historic structure. Wankaner Palace is being used as a hotel now and not many people come to witness the charm of the Wankaner Palace Stepwell. However, it is truly a visual treat to see this white sandstone wonder.
Location: RR7P+MFX Wankaner Darwaja, 1, Lakhdhirvas Shivmanas Main Rd, Old Morbi, Morbi, Gujarat 363641
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
5 – Modhera Surya Kund
Modhera is a very beautiful place where you will see the remnants of the historic Sun Temple. This one is much older than the infamous Konark Sun temple in Orissa. The temple has detailed inscriptions from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Also, you will find that the precise carvings and detailing on the pillars are still very well-maintained. At the feet of the temple are the stairs that lead to the central Surya Kund. This was once an elaborate water source that the people in the village relied on to survive. However, now you will hardly find any water in it during the hot months. Despite being close to the banks of the Pushpavati River, this place is empty and not thriving. But that shouldn’t stop you from visiting this spot because this is one of the most gorgeous stepwells in Gujarat. The sheer beauty and magnificence of the place will tug at your heartstrings!
Location: H4MM+95W, On, Mehsana – Becharaji Rd, Highway, Modhera, Gujarat 384212
Timings: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
6 – Rani ki Vav
Rani ki Vav is built in the Solanki style of architecture and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This breathtaking structure was found by the archaeological survey of India and is shaped to look like an inverted temple. As you descend down, you will see various carvings on the walls that depict the Hindu Mythology. Mostly, you will see images of Lord Vishnu in his various forms. There are about 500 different sculptures in small and large sizes across the entire structure. Surrounded by lush greenery, the place is peaceful and absolutely stunning. However, unlike other stepwells in Gujarat that we discussed, you might find a significant crowd here. People who visit Gujarat will have Rani Ki Vav on their itinerary for sure. Rani Ki Vav was built by Queen Udayamati in loving memory of her late husband Bhimdev I of Solanki.
Location: Mohan Nagar Society, Mohan Nagar Society, Patan, Samalpati, Gujarat 384265
Timings: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Navghan Kuo is a small stepwell that is right next to the Adi Kadi Vav that we have discussed above. It is one of the most serene stepwells in Gujarat and you can feel that temperature dip when you start walking down those steps. The entire structure is carved out of a single stone and you won’t find any intricate designs or decorative carvings on the walls. Though it is smaller than the Adi Kadi Vav, this stepwell has its own charm and elegance. It is about 170 feet in depth and has 200 steps on its circular staircase. Navghan Kuo is part of the Uparkot Fort and usually not many people visit this stepwell. So, if you are looking for a place where you can have your alone time then Navghan Kuo is the right place for you! You can gather some friends or go along with your family and spend about an hour or two in this splendid place.
Location: Navghan kuvo, Uparkot Fort, Mullawada, Junagadh, Gujarat 362001
Timings: 8:00AM to 6:00PM
8 – Ramkund
The people who laid down the design of Ramkund focused more on the accessibility and ease of usage than the external appearance. If you visit this place, you will realise that it is one of the simplest stepwells in Gujarat. However, it is also very beautiful. The square-shaped stepwell has a series of steps lining the edge of the well shaft and it is fairly easy to reach the water. However, now you will only find green-coloured algae water and not much is being done to restore this stepwell to its past glory. Externally, you will find carvings on the walls depicting ‘Dasavataaram’ or the ten different avatars of Lord Vishnu. The geometry of this stepwell is so good that you can’t help but hail and appreciate the smart minds of our ancestors. It acted as a good source of water for the people in the village and also for travellers who used to stop by. The stepwell is also close to the Kutch museum so plan to cover both of these places when you visit.
Location: Ram-Kund, Bhuj, Gujarat, 370001
Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
9 – Helical Stepwell
The helical stepwell in Gujarat is such a marvellous creation of our ancestors! It is pure ‘wow’! It is on the outskirts of Champaner, quite close to Vadodhara. The external walls of the structure are made of brick but the steps are made of stone. These steps are thicker toward the well shaft and thinner in the centre, making it easier for all age groups to go down and fetch water. Also, you will find dedicated spaces on the steps where you can sit and relax, something which is necessary when women are carrying heavy pots of water. Or, they can simply sit down and catch up on their new cooking recipes, we suppose? This structure was constructed in the 16th Century and the Government of Gujarat with the local municipality is making efforts to make this place a world heritage site. The groundwater levels are so low that you will hardly find any water in the Helical Stepwell.
Location: FGM9+Q46, Champaner, Gujarat 389360
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
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Stepwells in Gujarat are magical and no one can change our minds about that notion. Though we have only mentioned 9 stepwells in this blog, there are so many more to discover and explore when you reach Gujarat. A few of them are well-maintained and the government is going out of its way to maintain them in good condition. Then, there are stepwells that are cared for by the locals and attract a very restricted tourist crowd. However, there is a third category of stepwells that makes everyone curious! These are the ones that are so obscure and hidden that not even the locals know about their existence! Well, we can expect someone, someday to stumble upon these structures, just like the archaeological survey of India found the Rani ki Vav. It is a very good move to see how these structures are not just serving as historical monuments but also as beneficial constructions that made lives better!
Make an itinerary to cover these 9 different stepwells in Gujarat on your next trip. You won’t regret it at all!