Adalaj Stepwell (Gujarati: અડાલજની વાવ, Hindi: अडालज बावड़ी or Hindi: अडालज बावली, Marathi: अडालज बारव) or Rudabai Stepwell is a stepwell located in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad city and in Gandhinagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It was built in 1499 by Mahmud Begada for his queen Rudabai, wife of Veersinh, the Vaghela chieftain. It is an example of Indo-Islam fusion architecture work.
The step well or ‘Vav’, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is five stories deep. Such step wells were once integral to the semi-arid regions of Gujarat, as they provided water for drinking, washing and bathing. These wells were also venues for colourful festivals and sacred rituals.
Stepwells, also called stepped ponds, built between the 5th and 19th centuries, are common in Western India; over 120 such wells are reported in the semi-arid region of Gujarat alone, of which the well at Adalaj is one of the most popular. Stepwells are also found in more arid regions of the subcontinent, extending into Pakistan, to collect rain water during seasonal monsoons. While many such structures are utilitarian in construction, they sometimes include significant architectural embellishments, as in the Adalaj stepwell, which attracts a large number of tourists. In the past, these stepwells were frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes.