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Gujarat  >>  Ahmedabad  >>    Surat   >>   Rajkot   >>  Vadodara   >>  Monuments    >>   Beaches  
History & Culture  >>   Temples    >>   Museums  >>  Hill Station  >>   Wildlife >>   Map

Monuments


Adalaj Vav
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 century AD.
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 STRUCTURE

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.

Aina Mahal

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 musicians.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

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 various storeys.

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

Shaking Minarets
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.

UNIQUE FEATURE
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 swinging effect.

THE ARCHITECTURE
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.

.Sahastralinga Talav

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.

Sarkhej Monuments

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 workmanship.

THE ARCHITECTURE

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 fa├žade 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.


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