Adi Kadi Vav in Junagadh – one of India’s earliest stepwells

Although Adi Kadi Vav lacks an imposing grandeur and intricacy of other stepwells  in Gujarat (Rani ki Vav and Adalaj Stepwell to name a couple), the structure is remarkable in its own way. It is believed to be one of the earliest stepwells in India, though none of the sources states explicitly which century it was actually constructed in. According to this Wikipedia article, it could be as early as the second half of the 10th century.

What’s so special about Adi Kadi Vav?

The stepwell is located in the Uparkot fort of Junagadh, and it served as a water source for those who lived inside the fort’s stone walls. The Adi Kadi Vav is descended by an extensive flight of steps (162 to be precise) leading to the shaft of this enormous well. It’s 41 m deep, 81 m long and 4.75 m wide, and the entire structure was cut out of solid rock. The step well has no external elements whatsoever. You won’t find here any kutas (pavilion towers), niches or bracing beams, which are so typical for the ornate stepwells of Gujarat, but the rock strata along the walkway look fantastic. There were hardly any visitors, so I had the stepwell more or less entirely to myself.

The stepwells in India never cease to amaze me. Adi Kadi Vav in the ancient town of Junagadh, Gujarat, is not ornate like other stepwells in this state, but its rock stratum along the walls are impressive nevertheless. The stepwell is is 81 metres long, 4.75 metres wide and 41 metres deep, and it was carved out of solid rock. The date of its construction is not known, but it’s believed to be one of the earliest stepwells in India. Have you ever been? Would you like to visit? . . #stepwell #vav #baori #gujarat #junagadh #India #incredibleindia #traveldiaries #travelphotography #traveltheworld #stonecarving #wanderlust #worlderlust #roamtheplanet #travelpics #indiapalette #mytravelgram #travelblogger #welltravelled #instatravel #travelgram #discoverearth #exploringtheglobe #travelingram #traveladdict  #passionpassport #bestplacestogo #instapassport #theglobewanderer #wanderlust #travelblog

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Looking at the high walls of this manmade canyon, I was thinking of the enormous effort of those who built them. The Uparkot Fort wiki article suggests that it was constructed by the slave girls of the Chudasama rulers, but to be honest, I find it highly unlikely. On the other hand, even today India’s construction labour force includes a lot of women, so who knows… What sounds more believable is the legend about how Adi Kadi Vav got its name. It is said that it was named after two female servants, Adi and Kadi, who used to regularly fetch water from this well for the royal family.

Adi Kadi Vav photos

Adi Kadi Vav, the well shaft

Adi Kadi Vav, the well shaft

The surrounding mountains

The rock strata along the Adi Kadi Vav 's walkway

The rock strata along the Adi Kadi Vav ‘s walkway

Adi Kadi Vav, remarkable sight to behold

Adi Kadi Vav, the remarkable sight to behold

Admiring the unigue geological formation

Admiring the unique geological formation

The sky above

Adi Kadi vav on the map

Adi Kadi Vav travel tips

To reach Uparkot fort, take an auto-rikshaw – it’s only 1 km or so from the railway station.

The entry to the fort is free, and it’s open from 7 am to 7 pm. The guide’s fee is Rs. 150-200.

There are guides waiting at the entrance to tell you of all the sights within the fort, including the Adi Kadi Vav. I politely declined their offers, because my Hindi is still in its infancy (I know, I know, shame on me), and none of them spoke English (or Ukrainian, haha!).

Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Although the Uparkot fort is not as huge as the Golconda fort, for example, exploring its sights involves a decent amount of walking.

If you love photography, the stunning overlappings on the sides of the descent suggest some interesting photo experiments.

Make sure to visit another step well, the Navghan Kuvo, which is located close by.

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Adi Kadi Vav

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8 thoughts on “Adi Kadi Vav in Junagadh – one of India’s earliest stepwells

  1. Such a marvellous piece of architecture! The ancient rulers really had an eye for the aesthetics. I am glad you are writing about the architectural bounties of Gujarat, Antonina!

    • Yes, my fascination started from visiting Ahmedabad, and it’s not going to end anytime soon 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Mohana, and welcome to my blog.

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