Hidden step wells of Ahmedabad - Dada Hari ni Vav & Mata Bhawani ni Vav

Ahmedabad has two prominent stepwells and both of them are extremely beautiful and wonderful places of visit.

Dada Hari ni Vav is an intricately designed step-well (on the lines of the more famous Adalaj ni Vav) built about 500 years back in the year1501, under the reign of Mehmud Begda. Like most step-wells, this too is designed to store water and provide a resting place for the travelers.

stepwell ahmedabad dada hari ni vav

Bhavin, Risha and I decided to make a trip to this vav on a rather lazy Sunday morning. We located the vav on google (apparently close to Relief Road), but finally found it in an area called Asarva (near the now defunct, yet still famous Asarva Mill). The area is largely poor and looks more like a small town outside Ahmedabad. Finding it was tough, there are no sign boards and very few people even know that it exists.

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But the vav is an absolute delight! The many storeys are filled with intricately carved walls and columns and the sunlight filtering through makes the place even more beautiful! You can almost go down to the lowest level (not possible in many vavs now a days) and look around.

Mehmud Khan, the caretaker, was more then helpful with our questions and in keeping the local urchins away! This video might be a little useful to give an idea of the space.

Just behind the vav is the mosque of Sultani, and something that should just not be missed. In fact there are two structures (the mosque and the tomb) and you can even climb up on both. In the courtyard, there is an opening which is apparently a cave which connects to Kalupur. Right now it looks more like a dumping ground and not exactly very inspiring for the adventurous sort. There are some very small stairs going down somewhere, and I somehow like the idea of such underground connecting pathways.

We later went to another Vav called Mata Bhawani ni Vav, about 20 minutes walk from this one. We actually didn't even know about this one, but since we had time asked the caretaker if we can go anywhere else close by.

The contrast between the two was stark. The first one was sublime and pure, its feel was almost that of a beautiful dead body. Something with a lost wandering soul. However, the second Vav was colorful and lively, and to the extent of being almost gaudy. But it had life. There were people and there were almost living Gods. Can't say which one do I prefer...both had their charm.

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