A stunning example of Indo-Islamic architecture in Gujarat is Adalaj Stepwell or Adalaj ni Vav. One of the finest stepwells of Gujarat was built in 1555. It is located in the Adalaj village, 18 km away from Ahmedabad city. What makes this stepwell the most beautiful amongst others is its series of platforms and galleries built on the side of the stepwell. It looks like a tale of unrequited passion and events revolving around it.
The story behind the making of this legendary stepwell is so interesting. A Hindu ruler named Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty reigned over this territory which was known as Dandai Desh, in the 15th century. People of his country were suffering from water droughts. Hence, King Rana Singh decided to construct well. Before achieving his goal, his kingdom was attacked by Mahmud Begada, the Muslim ruler of a neighbouring kingdom. The Rana king was killed during the war. His wife, Rani Roopba, was so beautiful that Mahmud falls in love with her beauty. He proposed her for marriage, Rani in deep grief at the death of her husband, agreed on a condition that he would first complete the building of the stepwell. King Mahmud agreed to the proposal and built the well in record time. When the construction was completed, he reminded Rani of her promise to marry him. Roopba decided to end her life on achieving her objective of completing the stepwell started by her husband. Leaving behind a mark of devotion to her husband, Rani circumambulated the stepwell with prayers and jumped into the well. King Begada allowed the well to persist without spoiling. To date, every visitor who comes here prays for the spirits of Rani Roopba as they believe that her spirit still resides here.
There are two versions available narrating this incidence. One version is mentioned in the 200 years old scriptures of Swaminarayan; before her death, Rani requested religious saints to take a bath in this stepwell. So that the water in the stepwell gets purified by these saints, thereby delivering her from her sins. Another one is associated with the tombs found near the well. The six graves build near the well are dedicated to six masons who built the well. King Mahmud was so impressed by the architectural excellence of the stepwell; hence he asked the masons if they could make another well? The masons agreed, and the king sentenced them to death. He did not want a replica to be built.