In India step wells were constructed to preserve rainwater. They were used to provide a common source of drinkable water for people daily use and ritual purpose. One such step well is stepwell of Adalaj also know as Rudabai Stepwell in the village of Adalaj, Gandhinagar provice of Gujrat. It was built by in 1498 in the memory of Rana Veer Singh (the Vaghela dynasty of Dandai Des), by his wife Queen Rudadevi.
The Tragic Love Story Behind The Construction Of Step well.
According to legend the fifteenth century, Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty, a Hindu ruler, ruled over this region referred to around then as Dandai Desh. His realm was a little one. His provice had deficiency of water and were mostly dependent on rain water. To reduce this water scarcity problem and preserve rainwater , Rana started the development of an enormous and profound stepwell.
Before this task could be finished, his province was invaded by Mohammed Begda, the Muslim leader of a neighboring realm. The Rana king was murdered in fight and his domain was captured by the Mohammed Begda. Rana Veer Singh’s widow, a delightful and beautiful woman known as Rani Roopba (or Roodabai), needed to perform Sati ( ending life on her husband’s funeral) and with her husbsnd even after death. But, Begada prevented her from performing Sati and proposed her to marry him.
She agreed to a marriage proposal but placed the condition that he would first complete the building of the stepwell. The Muslim king who was deeply attracted and enamoured of the queen’s beauty agreed to the proposal and built the well in record time. As soon as the well was completed, Begda reminded the queen of her condition to marry him. But he failed to realize the hidden intension of the queen. She had an intentions to complete the step well started by her husband and then end her life. She jumped into the step well and ended her life.
According to one of the legend narrated in the 200 years old scriptures of Swaminarayan suggests that before she died, Rani Roopba requested religious saints to take bath in this stepwell so that the water in the stepwell gets purified by these saints thereby delivering her from her sins.
Another story is linked to the tombs found near the well. The tombs of six craftmen who built the well are seen near the stepwell. Begda asked the craftmen if they could build another similar well and when they agreed But Begda sentenced them to death since he was impressed by the architectural excellence of the stepwell and did not want a replica to be built.
Unique Architectural Design
Implicit sandstone in the Solanki structural style, the Adalaj stepwell is five stories deep. It is octagonal in arrangement at the top, based on complicatedly cut huge number of columns. Each floor is sufficiently open to accommodate individuals to gather. It was burrowed profound to get to groundwater at that level, representing occasional changes in water level because of precipitation throughout the long term. The air and light vents in the rooftops at different floors and at the arrival level are as huge openings. From the main story level, three flights of stairs lead to the base water level of the well, which is viewed as a remarkable element. Worked along a north–south hub, entrance is from the south, the three flights of stairs are from the south, west and east bearings prompting the arrival, which is on the northern side of the well. Four little lives with oriel windows improved with minutely cut sections are given at the arrival level, at the four corners. The underlying framework is commonly Indian style with customary trabeat with even shafts and lintels. At the lower part of the well is a square ventured floor looking like a channel reaching out to the most reduced plane. This is etched into a roundabout well. Over the square floor, segments, bars, divider and angled openings twisting around; a component that proceeds to the top. The top piece of the well, in any case, is a vertical space open to the sky. The four corners of the square are fortified with stone shafts, set at 45 degrees point.
The themes of blossoms or flowers and designs of Islamic engineering mix very well with the images of Hindu and Jain Gods cut at different degrees of the well. The prevailing carvings on the upper floors are of elephants (3 inches (76 mm) in size, every one of various plan). The Islamic design style could be credited to the Muslim ruler Begda who fabricated it. The dividers are cut with ladies performing day by day errands, for example, stirring of buttermilk, decorating themselves, scenes of execution of artists and artists, and the King sitting above every one of these exercises.
An intriguing portrayal cut from a solitary square of stone is of the Ami Khumbor (representative pot of the water of life) and the Kalp Vriksha (a tree of life). Likewise seen is a fresco of navagraha or nine planets. These portrayals are said to pull in locals for love during marriage and other formal services.
The temperature inside the well is supposed to be around five degrees lower than the external blistering summer temperatures. This empowered the ones who came to bring water to invest more time and energy in the cool climes here. They remained to love gods and goddesses and gossips.
A recognition paid to the rich underground structures, which are unpredictably adorned with models, is that they are said to look like castles and palaces