Over the last few months, I’ve been stricken with step-well fever, after seeing my first one in Adalaj, near Ahmedabad. That deserves a post in itself, and hopefully soon, I’ll be able to write something on it and put up some pics as well.
Quite by accident, I ‘discovered’ three more step-wells in the city. It’s curious that people will travel long distances to see the sights, but ignore stuff next door. Many of my friends in Ahmedabad had heard about the step wells I’m going to write about, but had never taken the time out to go and visit.
C’est la vie, I guess…
The Matar Bhavani temple and well is in the same location – actually, the temple is inside the well. The well was dry when I visited it, but the idol is obviously frequently visited and worshipped. Plants around the little yard and flowers and festive look around the idol gave it a very homely touch.
The architecture and sculpture of the well is quite simple – a contrast to the gorgeous and intricate work I’d seen at Rani ki vav in Patan. It appears that a lot of the old carvings have paid the toll of time. But what remains is pretty on a small-scale – a neighbourhood source of water, rather than a resource for a large community.
The well at Panchkuva (which means ‘five wells’) is also called Amritavarshini – the shower of nectar, and the name of an Indian raga which is supposed to bring showers of rain when performed. Lovely name to give to the source of precious water in a dry land!
The well is just behind the Panchkuva gate in the old city, and unfortunately, the gates were closed to visitors when I went. I did manage to sneak in quietly and wander around a bit before the gatekeepers came back. This is quite a small well, in reasonable repair; very simple, purely functional without any pretensions. Just a few steps down, and then the water.
Quite a contrast to the magnificent wells at Adalaj, Patan and Dada Harir ni vav in Asarva, Ahmedabad.
I hope to write about the ones in Adalaj and Asarva in the next few posts, and also about the Jethabhai step-well, also in Ahmedabad.