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Folio: A descent into the atmospheric depths of Gujarat’s finest step well

Adalaj Vav, in Gandhinagar district, 17km north of Ahmedabad, is widely accepted as Gujarat’s finest step well

Its cavernous interior was designed to provide a cool and pleasant ambience for social interaction. With five stages articulated with ornate colonnades, a corridor of 95 steps leads down to a depth of 30m to an intricately carved octagonal well shaft. With every step taken the air turns cooler, the shadows get darker and the atmosphere becomes increasingly sublime. Built in 1499, the well is still used today for rest and relaxation, however, somewhat disappointingly the site is now signalled by a more recent and far cruder concrete water tower that serves today’s local population.

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