Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo

Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo


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Adi-Kadi Vav & Navghan Kuwo

These two stepwells inside Uparkot, are highly unusual forms of stepwells, very different from wells in other parts of Gujarat. Most wells are dug through various kinds of subsoils and rock layers, and stone columns, floors, stairs and walls are built much like they would be in above-ground construction. In the case of these two, the spaces of the well itself were carved out of stone, leaving the structure of the well (the columns, the walls, etc.) out of the original rock. This means no structural construction is done, so the whole structure of the well is hewn out of a single stone.

Navghan Kuwo, just a few years shy of being a thousand years old (it was apparently built in 1026 AD, though some accounts say it is much older), is partly hewn out of soft rock and partly built up structurally like other wells. The stairs that lead down 52 m (170 ft.) to the water level spiral around the well shaft itself, which is also very uncommon. The water from Navghan Kuwo is what allowed Uparkot to withstand many long sieges.

Adi-kadi Vav, built in the 15th century, is carved entirely out of hard rock. A narrow flight of 120 stairs cuts down through the stone to meet the well shaft deep in the stone. Two different legends claim to explain the name of the well. One says that the king ordered a stepwell to be built and workers excavated down into this hard stone, but no water was found. The royal priest said that water would only be found if two unmarried girls were sacrificed. Adi and Kadi were the unlucky ones chosen for this and after their sacrifice, water was found. The other story, less fantastic but probably more likely, claims that Adi and Kadi were the names of the royal servant girls who fetched water from the well every day. Either way, people still hang cloth and bangles on a tree nearby in their memory.

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