Dada Harir ni Vav
Ahmedabad, India
Dada Harir ni Vav (or Bai Harir ni Vav) is a stepwell in the neighborhood of Asarwa in Ahmedabad, just north of the Delhi Gate and old city center. It is part of a complex that also includes a mosque and tomb. The namesake of the well is Dada Harira, a noble lady who provided the funding for the structure and who an inscription identifies as the chief attendant of the harim under Sultan of Gujarat Mahmud Begara (r. 1458-1511/863-917 AH). Sanskrit and Arabic inscriptions on the stepwell date it to 1499/1556 VS and to 1500/906 AH, respectively.

The well is oriented east to west, with a domed entrance pavilion resting on twelve columns on the east end. A staircase descends from the west side of this pavilion into the well, passing through four subterranean pavilions (kuti) constructed using pillars and beams. Each pavilion ascends to ground level, and so they are progressively higher with more stories. The flights of stairs between the third and fourth, and the fourth and fifth pavilions pass through a bay supported by two pairs of columns for extra structural support. 

A the bottom of the flights of stairs is a fifth multi-story, pillar-and-beam pavilion that covers a larger ground area than the others. This pavilion is open to the sky through a central octagonal shaft framed by balconies.2 At the bottom of this shaft is a square pool. One can ascend the five stories of this deepest and tallest pavilion through spiral staircases at the north and south ends. An arched doorway on the east end of the fifth pavilion leads to the circular well shaft.

Two canopy structures rise above ground level at the top of the octagonal shaft. Their forms compliment the entrance pavilion and mark far end of the well.

Notes

  1. Burgess, Mohammadan Architecture, 4. The Arabic date is read as 896 AH (1490 CE) in Jain-Neubauer, Stepwells, 41.
  2. The fourth and fifth levels would have been completely submerged during part of the year until recently, when irrigation projects drained the water table and lowered the level of ground water in Gujarat (Jain-Neubauer, Stepwells, 38). 

Sources

Burgess, James. The Muhammadan Architecture of Ahmadabad. Part II London: W. Griggs and Sons, 4-9. 1905.

Jain-Neubauer, Jutta. The Stepwells of Gujarat in Art-Historical Perspective, 38-41. New Delhi: Abhinav, 1981.



Location
Ahmedabad, India
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Part of Site
Events
1499-1500/905-906 AH
Dimensions
73 m (240 ft) (length)
Variant Names
Dada Harir ni Vav
દાદા હરિરની વાવ
Original
Dada Harir ni Vav
Transliterated
Dada Harir Vav
Translated
Dada Harir Stepwell
Translated