A short vacay and a plan over the weekend, this time I headed towards the city of Ahmedabad. I started from Mumbai at 1:30 p.m. and reached there at night by train. The city is well-connected with frequent trains and over-night buses from Mumbai.
This time I was there to meet a friend also along with visiting the old relics of the city. We had a nice long drive before reaching my friend’s home. The next day our short plan was to visit Dada Harir Stepwell, Sabarmati Ashram and the famous Adalaj Stepwell.
Started at around 10:30 a.m. on a cab, we directly went to Dada Harir Stepwell. Since I was very excited to visit a stepwell, this smaller one was the right to start with. The stepwell was built in 1485 by Dhai Harir, a household lady of Mahmud Begada. She was the superintendent of the royal harem. Dhai Harir also built a mosque and a tomb in which she was buried. The stepwell is built in sand stone in Solanki architectural style, it is five stories deep. It is octagonal (8-sided polygon) in plan at the top, built on intricately carved large number of pillars. Each floor is spacious enough to provide for people to congregate. It was dug deep to access ground water at that level, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in water level due to rainfall over the year. The air and light vents in the roofs at various floors and at the landing level are in the form of large openings. From the first story level, three staircases lead to the bottom water level of the well, which is considered a unique feature. [Wikipedia]
It was comparatively empty as there was hardly any visitors. We started entering the stepwell when the attendant of the place came to our rescue and helped us in exploring the place properly. The place is not as well-maintained or clean as one can smell the stringent odor of an old place, with bats flying and spider-webs all around. But of course, it was one of an experience I can cherish. I would suggest this place if you really love to explore historical places.
From here we went to the mosque situated right at the back of the Stepwell complex. There also one person guided us through the entire mosque and showed us the splendid architectures in detail. Here are few glimpses of it:
After this we went to the Sabarmati Ashram. It is as tranquil as an ashram should be. As we proceeded, we transited to the phase of the history of Independence of India, the ideologies of Bapu and the life he used to live in the Ashram. The Sabarmati Riverfront was a place to see, but couldn’t spend time as the Sun was above our head. But the cool breeze within the parks of the ashram under the shades of the trees was smoothening enough for some rest from the scorching heat of the city.
From there we went to a lunch place. Apparently, I was eager to taste a Gujarati thali and hence ended up to this Gopi Restaurant. The service, behavior of the staffs were as sweet as the Gujarati dishes. The food was pleasing to the hungry stomachs. The main attraction to the food was the fruit Shrikhand which was lighter than the regular Shrikhand, and we had both of it.
Finishing the sumptuous lunch and taking some rest, our final destination was the famous Adalaj Stepwell. It was around 4 p.m. when we reached there. The Muslim king Mahmud Begada of a neighbouring state built the Stepwell in Indo-Islamic architectural style, in 1499. Structure-wise it is the same as previuos stepwell, but carries many significant religious stories. The temperature inside the well is said to be about five degrees lower than the outside hot summer temperatures (which we could feel too). This encouraged the women who came to fetch water to spend more time in the cool climes here. They stayed to worship the gods and goddesses and gossip.
Thus the day at Ahmedabad was spent well. We had also visited the Akshardham Temple. If you have some time, go and visit it for its beautiful architectures. Phone/Camera are not allowed inside the temple complex. So have a beautiful time inside leaving all these beside.