Adalaj Stepwell is a unique Hindu 'water building' in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad town in Gandhinagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The stepwell was built in 1499 by Muslim king Mohammed Begda for Queen Rani Roopba, wife of Veer Singh, the Vaghela chieftain. The step well or 'Vav', as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is five stories deep. Such step wells were once integral to the semi-arid regions of Gujarat, as they provided water for drinking, washing and bathing. These wells were also venues for colorful festivals and sacred rituals.
Stepwells, also called stepped ponds, built between the 5th and 19th centuries, are common in Western India; over 120 such wells are reported in the semi-arid region of Gujarat alone, of which the well at Adalaj is one of the most popular. Stepwells are also found in more arid regions of the subcontinent, extending into Pakistan, to collect rain water during seasonal monsoons. While many such structures are utilitarian in construction, they sometimes include significant architectural embellishments, as in the Adalaj stepwell, which attracts a large number of tourists. In the past, these stepwells were frequented by travelers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes.