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Adalaj vav- Gujarat

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Adalaj vav- Gujarat

  2. 2. Adalaj Vav or Stepwell is situated on a caravan route from Ahmedabad to Patan, the then capital of Gujarat and 18 kms. north of Ahmedabad in Gandhinagar district in Adalaj village. Built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai, it is an interesting fusion of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles peculiar to the Sultanate regime in Gujarat. This style later came to be identified as Indo-Saracenic architecture. The 'Vav' is laid out in the northsouth direction where the well is in the north and the entrance in the south and has a total length of 75.3 metres.
  3. 3. •SECTION • Showing all the 5 stories finally reaching the well. •PLAN • Showing the well in north direction and entrance in the south direction.
  4. 4. At the stepwell, the only visible clue at ground level is the pair of pilasters flanking a wide flight of steps. These become an inviting portal to climb the steps leading to a platform. The plinth platform then leads you through the descending steps and retaining sidewalls. The first flight of steps descends to a sq. platform with an octagonal frame, which was once a dome base. Surrounded on the 3 sides by the inclined planes of rising steps the node leaves one side open to approach. Although, a linear symmetrical organization of elements along the horizontal axis, the visual references continuously change owing to an inclined movement at every step.
  5. 5. Each steps reveals only the next while the subsequent flights of steps and water remain concealed by platforms from the cone of vision. At Adalaj, the shoring wall edges have plaques that depict water urns. The freeze panel over the beam depicts the churning of the liquid while at the base of the well is carved the motifs of fish. This as against the statuette of Ganesha, located at the top rim level of the well that marks the start of the journey.
  6. 6. Portals created by trabeated columns and beam construction to shore the sidewalls retaining the earth are the key elements. The stone column and beam provide the visual frames, which enhance the source of depth, by providing an intermediate visual reference. With such changing visual frames the descent of 5 floors brings enface the actual water source. As the journey terminates, steps flank the water on all 4 sides making the well the notional centre and the focus that connects vertically up to sky and down to water well.
  7. 7. To a Hindu, step wells have 2 associations: One of purification in holy water and The association of ‘PATAL LOK’, one of the 3 domains of the world, apart from earth and sky. Water reflects the sky and sunlight to bring together the bi-unity of the extremes: Water and fire as notional opposites that co-exist as counter references to each other.
  8. 8. The total descent at Adalaj is of 5 floors, At the 1st level it begins with the ground and sky as the basic references while as one descends further, walls begin to surface changing one’s perception of the degree of enclosure. The 1st few levels still have reference to the sky through an aperture, while the subsequent lower levels become further enclosed with only walls remaining in the cone of vision. The perception of enclosure is further reinforced by the decreasing intensity of light. The brightness of light subdues as one progresses deeper making the space progressively vertical, cosier and confined
  9. 9. The timelessness is attributed to the freshness offered by the variation of visual frames as well as the integration of light/nature where the sun is the constant variable as it changes position and intensity from morning to evening through summer to winter, ensuring that the static object changes with changing outdoor conditions in regard to the Sun.