Maximilian Bertram: Stepwell Ahmedabad Gujarat

 

It was a very hot summer day in Ahmadabad (India) and I have been on the way to a customer meeting. For lunch my driver asked me to join him and his family to a place to lean back an relax. Lean back and relax? The sun was high in the sky with no clouds in the sky – it was unbearable!

He took me to an inconspicuous hole in the earth. Old stone steps led us to a well 20 meters under the earth. With every step I could feel a rapid cooling of the air. Indeed, it was a place to lean back and relax. On the way out I pulled my compact camera to capture this moment of pure well-being. I have almost missed the architectural beauty around me.

If you ever have the chance to travel to west India, I recommend to visit this carved, five story deep architectural master piece. The Adalaj stepwell is located in a small village not far away from the former capital Ahmadabad. 

Step wells originally served as a water reservoir and religious purpose. Today is still widely used to escape the daytime heat. “Just like me”

The legend of this well undoubtedly has blockbuster potential. 

It is said, that the king Veer Singh was defeated by the Sultan Beghara in the fifteenth century. The sultan asked for the hand of Veer Singh’s widow in marriage. But she was not interested at all. Therefore she begged to delay the marriage until the completion of the step well she wanted to build in her husband’s memory. After 20 years of waiting the Sultan reiterated his demand! 

But the queen jumped in the well and committed suicide (Jauhar) rather than marry the invader.

 

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