Mata Bhavani ni Vav
Ahmedabad, India
Mata Bhavani ni Vav, or the stepwell of Mata Bhavani, is a well located in the Asarva neighborhood of Ahmedabad, just to the north of the old city center. Its name refers to a small temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Mata Bhavani built within the well. Based on stylistic grounds, scholars date the well to the eleventh century/fifth century CE with later additions. The temple itself is likely among these later additions. 

The plan of the well follows the same structure as many stepwells in Gujarat: a straight stairwell leads from an entrance at surface level down several stories to the level of the well. This stairwell is broken into stages by subterranean pavilions (kuta), that rise in stories supported by pillars to above ground level. The top stories of these vertically-oriented pavilions are covered by canopies. The entrance, located on the west side of the well, is unceremonious. A stairwell descends from this point through three pavilions, dividing the whole into three stages.  One interesting feature of this well is that the stairs break into smaller flights that descend at right angles to accommodate for the steepness of the stages. At the bottom of the stairwell just before the deepest pavilion, the stairwell breaks into several cascades at right angles that surround a small square ornamental pool. The deepest pavilion, on the east side of the small square pool, gives access to the well cistern itself.

The decoration of this well is not lavish. The canopies covering the top stories of the subterranean pavilions are ornamented with rampant lions and some images of Hindu deities.


Burgess, James. The Muhammadan Architecture of Ahmadabad. Part II, 1-3. London: W. Griggs and Sons, 1905.

Jain-Neubauer, Jutta. The Stepwells of Gujarat in Art-Historical Perspective, 35-37. New Delhi: Abhinav, 1981.

Ahmedabad, India
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Associated Names
ca. 11th/5th century AH
46 m (length)
Variant Names
માતા ભવાનીની વાવ
Mata Bhavani Stepwell