Photographer's Note

One of Ahmedabad's most tranquil places is the 15th century Dada Hari ni Vav, an elaborate stone stepwell, five stories deep, built by the Dai Harir, then the superintendent of the royal harem of the city. Its a quiet, magical places, virtually forgotten by the city, inviting the few who visit it to linger in its cooling shadows.

Stepwells are essentially stepped tanks and/or wells with attached staircases that are most frequently found across arid northwestern India. They were once important civic structures, allowing public access to groundwater and a sheltered space for community gathering and interaction. Construction of stepwells was seen as a matter of prestige, and they were frequently commissioned by royals and nobles, with the most prestigious ones being elaborately decorated with delicate stone reliefs and sculptures. The advent of pipes and pumps, however, made stepwells redundant, and most fell into disuse by the turn of the 20th century. Today, surviving stepwells are mostly forgotten places, often in heavy disrepair - a poignant sight as cities and towns stare at a future of difficult access to water.

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Additional Photos by Prayash Giria (prayash) Silver Note Writer [C: 3 W: 1 N: 98] (276)
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