ABOUT twelve miles north of ahmedabad is the village of Adâlaj, where is to be seen one of the finest public wells or Wâv is a large well, usually consisting of two parts—a well, often octagonal, from which the water is drawn up in skins, by bullocks, the ropes passing over rude pulleys on the upper edge of the well; and secondly, of a wide staircase by which the women descend to the level of the water, there to fill their water-pots. These wâvs are common all over Gujarat and Rajputana: thus there is one a little farther north than this, at Dnyanoj; and at Asârwâ, a suburb to the north-east of Ahmedabad, there is a very old one known as Mâtâ Bhavâni’s; and another near by, built in A.D. 1499 by Śri Harira, a Hindu lady of the harem of Mahmud Begadhâ. This latter is the only one in the province that can compare with the Adâlaj wâv, and the latter has probably been the finer of the two. The platform at the head of the descent to the water is reached by short flights of steps in front and on each side. This platform is on a level with the first or upper gallery, and from it the stair-the whole width of the wâv—descends by eight or nine steps to a narrow platform, and from it again to a third, down through the three galleries; the water standing in the cold season about the level of the platform or floor of the last. The platforms, except the first and portions of the well of similar area, are roofed over in each gallery; the stairs and corresponding portions of the well are open to the sky. These partial floorings form a support for the columns in the different galleries, and the whole construction is a most effective and elegant support to the side walls against the pressure of the earth behind. The first platform is a square. Partially roofed over at the corners, leaving an octagonal opening above, which may possibly have been intended to be covered by a done. The columns bear a striking resemblance to those in Râni Sipri’s Masjid, differing only in the want of one member in the base, but they are much heavier in proportion to their height.
In the window like niches, and on a band of sculpture that runs right round the walls of the upper gallery, figures of elephants, and other animals, have been introduced; but on the second pair of pillars, and their corresponding pilasters, the faces of the shafts are ornamented by the lamp hanging by a chain from a rosette, and surrounded by a floral design, exactly similar to what we find in niches, and even in the mehrâbs of the masjids at Ahmedabad. Between these pillars, and between them again and the pilasters, there have once been toranas,-those ornamental arches so frequent in the Châlukya style of architecture.
The cornice that projects under the base of the pilasters enables one of scramble along the whole of the galleries, and on the right side of the upper gallery, in a niche, is found a Sanskrit inscription, of which the following is an outline translation: 1—
“Samvat I555 (A.D. 1498), month of Mâgha, Muhmud Padshah being king.
“Salutation to Vinayaka (Ganeśa,) to whose race belonged King Mokala, chief of the country of Dandâhi. From him was born Karna, whose son was Mûla-râja’s son, and Virasinha and Naisha were the sons of Mahȋpa. Virasinha’s queen, whose name is Rûjhâ, has constructed this well. It is dedicated at this time—when the sun is in the north, the month is Mâgha, the bright half (śukla paksha), the 5th day, the day of the week, Wednesday, the unar mansion—Uttarâ, Karana-Bava, the yogaSiddhi.”
Then follows a glowing description of the well, after which the queen, or rather lady of the chief, is praised in a few verses; the expense is stated at 5,000,111 țankas, or over five lakhs, and the whole ends with a repetition of the date as given above.
- 1. This has been prepared by Professor Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, M.A.