Most of my friends are convinced that I’ve got obsessed with step-wells (‘vav’ in Gujarati, ‘baoli’ in Hindi). I really find these fascinating, and I’ve tried to share my fascination and sense of wonder in my earlier posts featuring some of the most beautiful creations I’ve come across in this area of construction. Naturally, the bigger more famous ones tend to hog the limelight – but, there are many smaller ones, that are lesser known, which are well worth a dekko.
For example, in Patan, there is a small vav called Trikam Barot ni vav, dwarfed in size and share of mind by the magnificent Rani ni vav. Trikam Barot’s vav is small, unkempt, and almost totally neglected by the looks of it.
Tucked away modestly behind a bunch of new homes, this is easy to miss, unless you actually know about it, and the locals that you ask also know about it. My friend who accompanied me is a Patan resident, and he was quite ashamed of the neglect of this site, and promised to get the city fathers to do some clean up, at least to get the plastic bags and chocolate wrappers removed.
Somewhat better off is the Dada Harir ni vav in Asarva, Ahmedabad. I found the people in the area were better informed, and quite a few of the local auto drivers had heard of this and knew how to get there. This is in much better condition, and it was heartening that many school and college kids are donating their weekends and other spare time to clean this up and bring it up into something approaching pristine condition. A monument going back to 1,485 CE deserves no less.
Tucked away in what is now a somewhat unimportant industrial area, with a couple of old mills in the environment, it has quite a homely feeling about it, in spite of its majesty.
When I visited the vav, there was only one other visitor – we had the whole place to ourselves to explore.
Highly recommended to anyone visiting Ahmedabad with a couple of days to spare – may be you’ll be bitten by the step-well bug too.