The Adalaj Stepwell, also known as the “Vav” in Gujarati, is a five-story deep well located in Gujarat, India. It was constructed in 1498 by Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty but was later completed in 1499 in an Indo-Islamic architectural style by the Muslim king Mahmud Begada of a neighboring state. The well is intricately carved and features an inscription in Sanskrit on a marble slab located on the first floor, which provides information about the history of the well and its construction. The inscription also includes a description of the well and praises the queen who commissioned its construction. The stepwell is notable for its blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, as well as its depiction of cultural and architectural elements on the various levels of the well.
According to legend, the Adalaj Stepwell was commissioned by Rana Veer Singh, the Hindu ruler of the kingdom of Dandai Desh in the 15th century. Rana Veer Singh began construction of the well to alleviate the suffering of his people due to water shortages in the region but was killed in battle before it could be completed. His widow, Queen Rani Roopba, was approached by Mohammed Begda, the Muslim ruler of a neighboring kingdom, who proposed marriage to her. Rani Roopba agreed on the condition that Begda first completes the stepwell, which he did. However, after the well was finished, Rani Roopba decided to take her own life rather than marry Begda, as she had achieved her goal of completing the stepwell commissioned by her husband.