Dada Hari Ni Vav


Dada Hari, was the  chief attendant of Sultan Muhmud  Begada’s royal harem at the turn of the 16 century. She commissioned the building of this step well as well as a garden, mosque, and her own tomb.  The ancient rulers had chosen aristocrats to  build their own burial tombs while they were still alive.  Dada Hari was a very powerful and influential woman in a time where that was not usual.  A story goes is that she wanted the step well to be built as a cool, peaceful spot for the women in the area to rest and visit with  their friends while collecting water for their families.  She was an early feminist helping  other women.  She created one of the coolest places, literally, for a man or a woman  to spend a hot afternoon in Ahmedabad.7976365609_d6bb63b6b6_z

View down into the nearly dry well.  It will be replenished during monsoon.

A raised platform covered with a dome supported by twelve pillars mark the entrance of the vav.  From there. there are 95 steps descending 5 levels to the octagonal base to the water storage. The walls are covered with  both Hindu and Islamic influenced images , but no human or animal figures were used in respect of the Islamic observances. The floor was dry during all the year except during monsoon season.p2


images (38)                                images (34)



Behind the step well is the small mosque and neighboring tomb. Locals especially from the coal warehouse still come to the mosque for daily prayers. Stones from the  broken minaret are scattered in disarray in the courtyard. Another minaret stands  and is  accessible by windy stairs. There is a story that the cave in the courtyard leads to a secret tunnel that ends in Kalupur, several kilometers away. You can see the descending stairs into darkness, but locals use the tunnel as  a dumping ground.  We visited on a Sunday and people were sitting in the shade and visiting as they must have done for over 500 years.


This inscription is carved in one of the niches  in both Sanskrit and Arabic on the first floor of the step well:

“As long as the Sun and the Moon endure, so long shall this well continue steadily              to nourish all beings , whether born from sweat or eggs, whether from soil or from the womb. ”

Dada Hari wanted this water to be for all no matter the  culture or religion. All were to be treated equally.


From 101 Ways to Experience Ahmedabad 

Namaste. . . .  .This Is Incredible India

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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12 Responses to Dada Hari Ni Vav

  1. Beautiful documentation and pictures 🙂


  2. Buildings are beautiful and amazing, thank you for sharing knowledge
    friendly greetings, calligraphy archipelago


  3. Andrea says:

    Very nice picture, which is in accordance to the evening with friends
    Wish you a nice Abend.Sei blessed
    Sincerely Andrea


  4. Dana S. Hugh says:

    Great blog and what a drama in their culture to buried alive the wife because the husband died, I wonder if they still doing it….


  5. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


  6. davidhencke says:

    Reblogged this on David Hencke and commented:
    This is an absolutely fascinating travel blog written by a retired American grandmother on a four month trip to India. Not only does it explore places off the tourist track, it has great pictures and a feeling for people as well as places. I put up this particular blog as an example of a whole series she has put together on an Indian journey for those who enjoy travel writing.


    • annetbell says:

      Wow, David, I am first touched that you re-blogged and at you also wrote such a glowing introduction. It is much appreciated and I hope deserved! Namaste. . .


    • Sarah Hanif says:

      Hey, i have visited Dada hari vav a couple of times and on my last visit in 2016 January i met this uncle at mosque (3rd last picture) i had a long talk with him. I just want to know is he still there? I am planning to come again in January and i want to meet him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • annetbell says:

        Hey Sarah, I have not visited since 2015 so you are more current than I . The people all over India are so warm and willing to share. Have a glorious visit! I would love to hear!


  7. chr1 says:

    That’s a great photo.


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