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| Last Updated:: 02/01/2015

Gujarat

 

 

Sacred Tanks in Gujarat

 

 

 

 

Modhera Sun Temple,Surya Kund

 

 

(Picture Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Temple,_Modhera)

 

This temple located at Modhera in Gujarat shows Magha influences. A unique feature of this temple is that it is so designed that the rays of the sun fall on the image of Surya at the time of the equinoxes. The Modhera dance festival is celebrated here in this serene setting. The temple was constructed in 1026 AD and the representation of the sun god shows traces of West Asian influence.  In front of the temple, there is a huge stepped water tank.

 

Damodar kund near Girnar hills, Junagadh

 

 

(Picture Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damodar_Kund)

 

It is considered one of the sacred lakes of the Hindus.  It is believed by the Hindus that bathing in this lake and immersing the ashes of the departed will ensure a place in heaven.  The water of this lake has the unique property of dissolving the bones.  The lake is closely associated with the life of Narsinh Mehta, a 15thCentury Gujarati poet and devotee of Krishna.Damodar Kund is a pilgrimage along with Damodarrayaji temple on its bank, where Narasi Mehta used to visit every early morning. Bathing here during “Bhadrapadi Amavasya” is considered to be auspicious 

 

 

Rani-Ki vav  Patan, in Gujarat

 

(Picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rani_ki_vav)

 

Built during the period of the Solanki dynasty in 1050 AD Rani-Ki vav is a famous stepwell situated in Patan town of Gujarat.  It measures approximately 64m long, 20m wide and 27m deep. A unique feature are the pillars of the multi-storied pavilions which are richly carved.  The vav acted as an escape gateway for the king if he was defeated in battle.  The vavs were not only wells for collecting water but also contained a sub-terrenian temple in which is found an intricate carving of Vishnu reclining on the serpent Shesha (Sheshashayi).

 

 

Adalaj vav, Ahmedabad

 

 

(Picture source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adalaj_Stepwell)

 

 

The Adalaj vav situated near Ahmedabad in Gujarat served as a halting place for travellers for many centuries.  It was built by Queen Rudabai in 1499 AD.  It is a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture.  It consists of a five storied step well in which Islamic floral patterns merge with Hindu and Jain motifs.  Mythological scenes adorn the walls.  Among the artifacts that attract the visitors is the Ami Khumbor(a pot that contains the water of life) and the Kalpa vriksha (a tree of life) carved out of a single slab of stone.  There is also a small frieze of navagraha (nine-planets).

 

 

Gebanshah’s Vav, Champaner

 

(Picture source:  http://wikimapia.org/5727940/Gebanshah-s-Vav

 

 

This 16th century step well which is known as vav in Gujarati is open to the sky.  Pillars and beams exist on three levels but the roofs have not survived.  Steps alternate with covered landings which are called kutas.  Since the well is completely open to the sky. We are able to get an idea of how a well is constructed with the beams and pillars crossing one another at angles.  The well is approximately 20m deep with the shaft having a diameter of 6 metres.  There is a minimum of ornamentation or carving work in this well.

 

Adi-Kadi Vav, Junagadh

 

(Picture source: http://indianjourneyswordpress.com/2009/12/31/stepwells-of-gujarat/

 

It is one of the oldest step wells in the country and has a straight approach to a circular well shaft.  It is appears to be of the Nanda type.  The shaft looks apsidal at the bottom; however, the step well does not have any decorative motifs or even any beams or pillars.  Steps are carved into the rock sloping down to the shaft. 

 

 

Navghan Kuvo, Junagadh

 

 

(Picture source: http://indianjourneyswordpress.com/2009/12/31/stepwells-of-gujarat/)

 

It is difficult to pinpoint the date of this well due to lack of any inscriptions or other evidences.  However, it appears to be a good example of early rock-cut architecture hewn into the virgin rock.   It can be entered through a forecourt built during the 11thcentury AD.  A long flight of stone steps leads down into the well. The steps descend beside the shaft in sharp right turns, the shaft itself being square.  It is almost dark at the bottom of the well.

 

 

Helical Stepwell, Champaner

 

 

 

(Picture source: http://indianjourneys.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/stepwells-of-gujarat/)

 

This well is found on the road leading out of Champaner towards Vadodra.  The well is protected by a metre high brick parapet wall that curves around the shaft.  It does not appear to confirm to the known type of wells.  A short flight of steps leads down into the well.  There are numerous landings provided obviously to provide a resting place for those who fetched water from the well.  The well can be dated back to the 16th century AD. 

 

Dada Harir Vav, Ahmedabad

(Picture source: http://indianjourneys.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/stepwells-of-gujarat/)

  

This octagonal well can be found in Asarwa village north east of Ahmedabad.  At the eastern entrance of the well an open octagonal pavilion stands.  There is also a rectangular tank for cleaning and bathing.  A flight of steps leads down westwards through many landings.  The well rises in five levels, each level being octagonal in shape.   At each level, there are decorated pillars and their voluted capitals, niches of sculpted stonework, parapets of kumbha or geometric friezes and stone ledges for people to sit and relax.  The stairs give access to each level all the way to the tank at the bottom.  The well shaft is circular and is decorated with circular running friezes of geometric patterns.  It is difficult to estimate the length of the well and the depth of the shaft.

 

 

 

Narayan Sarovar, Lakhpat taluka or Kutch district

 

 

(Picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayan_Sarovar)

Located in the Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district of Gujarat and one of the most sacred sites of the Hindus is the Narayan Sarovar.  It is one of the five holy ponds mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagavat.  The name Narayan sarovar means the lake of Narayan one of the holy names of Vishnu.  Legend has it that once the holy waters of the river Sarasvati filled this lake.  There are also several important Vaishnav temple located nearby.  These include Shri Trikamraiji, Laxminarayan, Govardannathji, Dwarkanath, Adinarayan, Ranchodraiji and Laxmiji.  They were built during the period between 1780 and 1790 by the Queen of Rao Deshalji II of Kutch.  A festival is held here on the 11th to 15th days of the month of Kartik.  It is said that Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya spent some time here.  Devotees from all over India visit this sacred site.

 

 

 Adalaj Stepwell 

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepwell

 

The step wells or vavs were common in the semi - arid regions of Gujarat to cater to the drinking water needs of the people. These wells were also venues for colourful festivals and sacred rituals.  Vavs were built between the 5th and 19th centuries,in the western state of Gujarat. The most popular one is at Adalaj.  Adalaj Stepwell is a unique Hindu 'water building’ situated in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad city in Gandhinagar district in the state of Gujarat. It was built in 1499 by the Muslim king Mohammed Begda for Queen Rani Roopba, wife of Veer Singh, the Vaghela chieftain.  It is intricately carved and leads down to the depth of five stories. The vavs’s not only served the purpose of collecting the rain water but were also beautifully carved which has made them a popular tourist attraction.