Adalaj is a village 18 kms to the north of Ahmedabad . The 'Vav'
(step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda,
wife of the Vaghela chief, Virsinh; who built it in the 15th or 16th
The 'Vav', laid out in the north-south direction, the step well with
the well in the north and the entrance in the south, has a total
length of 75.3 metres. It is the only major monument of its kind,
having three entrance stairs leading to the stepped corridor. These
three entrances meet in the first storey, underground, in a huge
square platform. The platform has an octagonal opening on the top.
The platform rests on 16 pillars, eight on the corners, and two in
front of each main side. Four built-in shrines, with doors, windows
and balconies, mark the four corners of the platform. The stepped
corridor begins from this square platform.
The corridor is entirely surrounded by a one-metre high parapet wall
with a rounded topping. It descends with four pavilion towers for five
storeys. The walls of the 'Vav' are veritable showcases of sculptures
and ornamentation. The sculptures range from a king sitting on a stool
under a parasol, to erotic scenes; and from ladies churning buttermilk
to dancing girls.
The Aina Mahal, which now serves as a museum, was built during the
rule of the extravagant Rao Lakhpatji ((1741-1760). It now stands as a
repository of the culture and history of Kachchh. The building bears
the influence of its architect, Ramsang Malam, who was exposed to
European style during his long sojourn to Holland.
HALL OF MIRRORS
The real attraction here, though, is the Hall of Mirrors, created by
the master artisan, Ram Singh Malam, under the patronage of his
poet-ruler, Maharao Shri Lakhpatji around the middle of the 18th
century. A blend of Indian and European artistry (Ram Singh acquired,
his skills in Europe), the walls of the great hall are of white marble
covered by mirrors separated by gilded ornaments, lighting being
provided by elaborate candelabra, with shades of Venetian glass. It
has a platform above it surrounded by a series of fountains
operated by an elaborated system of pumps below a Venetian chandelier.
Another remarkable feature is the pleasure pool, in the middle of
which rises a square platform where the Maharao composed his poems and
gave encouragement to the classical arts of dancing girls, bards and
Maharao Madansinhji Museum: The entrance to the palace houses the
tourist office, and this is also the site of the museum, which has a
varied collection of paintings, photos and embroideries. There is a
15m long scroll depicting the Royal Procession of Maharao Shri
Pragmalji Bahadur (1838-75).
Prag Mahal (New Palace): Across the courtyard from the Aina
Mahal is the new palace, an ornate Italianate marble and sandstone
building, which was constructed in the latter part of the l9th century.
Parts of it are now used for.
Ashokan Rock Eddicts
Ashoka's edicts, issued after his conversion to Buddhism, were
designed to bring about large-scale acceptance of Buddhism. In pillar
edict 6, he had mentioned that he started issuing these edicts 12
years after his coronation. Fourteen such edicts have been found
near the edge of the Sudarshan Lake, about half a mile to the east of
Junagadh. The inscriptions on these edicts are in the Prakrit dialect.
The script used for these edicts used to vary with the need of the
region, but was largely Brahmi or Kharoshthi.
The Junagadh rocks cover all the 14 edicts that Ashoka had issued.
They are in a western dialect, with many Magadhi words resembling Pali.
Rani Ni Vav
The Rani-Ni-Vav forms the link between a 'kunda' and the now
classical step-well. This is due to the fact that in addition to the
straight staircase, it also has lateral staircases, along with very
broad, stepped corridors.
The 'Vav' is laid out in an east-west direction, with the entrance in
the east and the well in the west. Though it is in a dilapidated
condition, the entrance, the side-walls of the stepped corridor, some
of the 'mandapas' and the back wall of the well are still intact. Five
lateral, staggered staircases attached to be side-walls connect
SCULPTURES OF DEITIES
The 'Vav' is very rich in sculptures. Each level is profusely
adorned with carved friezes and deities. Sculptures of deities in
recessed and projecting niches cover all sides of the well. The lower
most level has 37 niches with rudimentary images of Lord Ganesh in the
centre. The images of Sheshashayi Vishnu in the central niches, on the
upper levels, are more elaborate.
Also, on the upper levels, are impressive images of Laxmi-Narayana,
Uma-Mahesh, Brahma-Brahmi, and Kuber and Ganesh, with their respective
consorts. On the lower levels, are the images of Vishnu's incarnations
and 24 forms. Interestingly, however, despite the fact that the 'Vav'
is a water structure, the 'Kurma' and the 'Matsya' incarnations do not
find a place
The Shaking Minarets are two minarets located at the Sidi Bashir
mosque, near the Sarangpur Gate and about 1.5 kilometers south
of railway station of Ahmedabad city, in the state of Gujarat. They are
uniquely designed in a way that when one minaret is shaken the other
one shakes too.
If one of the minaret is shaken the other vibrates too, as if
following the principal of resonance. In an experiment, a small ball
was hung to one of the minarets and when the other minaret was shaken,
the hanging ball on the other exhibited swinging effect.
The famous shaking minarets aroused so much curiosity in British
rulers that one of the minaret was dismantled by them, in vain, to
fathom the secret of its construction and the mystery behind the
This is a unique historical architectural marvel in the state of
Gujarat. Each minaret is three storeyed with delicately carved
balanced stone balconies, which girdle the minarets of each storey.
These minarets are about 21.34 meters high.
The Sahastralinga Talav (lake) occupies the north-western part of the
historical city of Patan. It is on the left bank of river Saraswati.
The 'talav' is reputed to have been built by Siddharaja Jaisinh, the
Chalukyan ruler of Gujarat. An inscription found in the Shiva Temple
in Vyala Kua Street of Patan indicates that the lake was part of a
much larger work.
At present, the Sahastralinga Talav is dry. All its systems, except
for the earthwork, are buried under the sands of the Saraswati, the
same river that had once filled it with water. Folklore ascribes the
dryness to the curse of one of the diggers, Jasma Odan.
THE PIOUS DARGAH
The famous saint, Makhdum Shaikh Ahmed Khattu, a disciple of Baba Ishq
Maghribi of Khattu, settled and died at Sarkhej, about 10 km
south-west of Ahmedabad . Construction on a 'dargah' and mosque were
begun in 1446, under Mohammad Shah II, and completed in the reign of
Sultan Qutub-Ud-Din Ahmed Shah.
The 'dargah', the largest of its kind in Gujarat, has a plinth area of
31.70 m, and is roofed by a large dome. It also has surrounding rows
of 13 pillars on each side. The walls are broken up into two storeys,
and perforated stonework of great variety fills up the spaces above
and below the dividing stones. The inner central square is partitioned
by screen walls, perforated in steel and metal, with a door in similar
A porch leads from the 'dargah' into the mosque, which is to the west.
The mosque has a roof of uniform height. Five large domes in a row,
and 40 smaller ones, symmetrically disposed, correspond to the
pillared squares within.
The roof is supported by 120 pillars of the same pattern. The mosque
has an elegant simplicity; the columnar style adopted here appears to
be on purpose, and compares favourably with the arched façade of other
mosques in and around Ahmedabad . The ablution tank is situated in an
enclosed alley, at half the height of the roof. Access to the roof is
through a porch, in the thickness of the wall.
The tomb of Sultan Mohmud Begada is also part of the Sarkhej Complex.
Stonework covers the pillars on three sides of the tomb, except for
the east. A balcony window projects into the tank.