A Tale of Trust and Treachery!

For ages we have been listening to the sagas of love and romance, and the immense amount of faith and trust that is portrayed in the stories is phenomenal. A lot of us also believe that Love has the power to create magic. It can either make you or break you. I came across one such story of love and betrayal while visiting Adalaj Stepwell.


On a recent trip to Ahmedabad, my extended family members took me to this place called the Adalaj Stepwell (popularly known as Adalaj ni Vav within Gujarat). I had a spare day in town as my return tickets were booked for the next day. Gujarat has some fascinating places around and there is a unique story attached to it as well. Since childhood, I have always loved stories because I grew up listening to my grandmother's stories and later became an avid reader. In an age of high rise building and skyscrapers, this came to my amusement and I was surprised to see that this architecture was so beautifully carved and constructed 5 stories underneath the ground.

This is one of the famous stepwells in Gujarat and even after years, the architecture is well maintained for tourist purposes. It is unique and different from the others because this stepwell has three entrances which lead you to the bottom level where the well is situated. Over years, they have shut the well to avoid accidents but the complete area, otherwise, was very much accessible and things I explored were darn beautiful.

The bottom level where the well is located

The top view from where the well is located

As per the local guides there, Stepwells were something very common in the 14th and the 15th century and many rulers built stepwells inorder to provide resting place to the travelers because hotels did not exist during that era. The Hindu ruler named Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty started the construction of this stepwell. But as we all have learnt from history, we know that the need to conquer, expand and be the most powerful kingdom was always there. When the construction of the stepwell had just begun, Rana Veer Singh lost his life in a battle against Mohammed Begda, the Muslim ruler of a neighboring kingdom who had attacked his kingdom. Hence, Mohammed Begda came to power and took over his kingdom. Rana Veer Singh's wife Rani Roopba was well known for her beauty and charm in the kingdom. Thrilled by her grace, the Muslim king proposed marriage to Raani Roopba to which surprisingly, she agreed. Her condition to marry the Muslim King was that the stepwell that her husband has started constructing should be completed, only after which she would marry the Muslim King.

The steps connecting the floors

The Muslim King agreed to Raani's condition and asked his men to start the work on the unfinished stepwell. Since Begda was a Muslim by religion, this stepwell has a very unique architecture style as it depicts a fusion of Indo-Islamic architecture work. The steps, the side walls, the pillars all have a very intricate carving and essence of flowery design denominating the Islamic style of architecture. Designed in the 15th century, the details of all the designs still show strong in the 21st century.

The bottom of the Pillar

The top of the Pillar

The Pillar supporting each floor above

While the stepwell was built exactly in the style of the Hindus, the essence in terms of designs and specific areas had Muslim influence. There were certain frames that were made on each floor with incarnations of Hindu Gods, thus keeping to the promise of Raani Roopba. But what grabbed my attention was the height of the floors that were constructed. I am sure looking at the picture on the right you can imagine it yourself. It was enormous.


As I mentioned earlier that it was a place where travelers took shelter, therefore there were these little rooms constructed where they could sit at peace or rest.

Small rooms to sit

Once that the construction was over, it was time for the marriage ceremony. But here comes a surprise element in the story, it is said that after the construction of the stepwell finished Raani Roopba jumped in the same well and ended her life. She being the queen wanted to complete the stepwell which her husband had started, thus fulfilling her responsibilities towards the public on behalf of her husband. To prove her devotion towards her husband, she walked all through the stepwell and later jumped in the well. Thus ending the saga of building this beautiful architecture in tragedy.

Love and devotion have their own way of writing a story. Destiny always has a plan. It was a heart-breaking story, but was also a victory of love and devotion in an era where women did not have much power. She proved her loyalty towards her husband and his kingdom while embarking on her journey to death. Inspite of not marrying the Queen, the Muslim King still made sure that the architecture wasn't destroyed nor any replica of it was ever made in the future.

This is yet another love story that found it way to heaven. Like it is always said, love is always about letting go because that is one power that I feel even today no one has ever been able to control. In today's era, the element of sacrifice and devotion seems missing when we talk about love. I am hoping that listening to this age old saga, you all understand a deeper meaning of love and romance.

PS : Yes, that is me in the pictures and the picture courtesy for those goes to my mother.