Prachin Vav, Jhaloda Village, Kadi, Mehsana District, Gujarat

Stepwells built in Akhanda Bharat since the ancient times offer valuable insight into the social and cultural propensity, religious practices and architecture and art of that period. These vavs are ingenious edifices built with locally available materials and display a rare harmony of structural soundness and architectural excellence.

 

It is very uncommon to find stepwells near lakes or ponds in modern times. However, in the olden days, building a stepwell near a large water body was the order of the day. The stepwell designed with troughs and channels would supply water for irrigation as well as domestic purposes.

 

One such stepwell that has fallen into disuse is the ancient stepwell in Jhaloda village located within a lake. This centuries-old stepwell built entirely of brick and lime has a covered entrance pavilion. The arches appear to be perhaps of the 14th century or later.

 

The steps leading to the well (that measures about 34 m in length) is made of brick. The layout comprises of the typical kutas and ardhakutas. As the eastern wall of the well shaft has a pronounced brick arch, it can be concluded that this side was perhaps the original entrance and sometime after the 14th century, the entrance was changed to the north.

 

Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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