Dada Harir Stepwell Ahmedabad - Bai Harir Vav (History, Entry Fee, Timings, Location)

Dada Hari ni Vav: Dada Harir Stepwell is also known as Bai Harir Vav and Dada Hari ki Vav to locals. This stepwell is one of the two historic stepwells in or near Ahmedabad. And, it is majorly overlooked in favor of the more well-known stepwell (water temple) in "Adalaj ki Vav".

Whilst most travelers visit only the stepwell of Adalaj, I strongly advise you to visit this ancient stepwell; whenever you are planning to explore Ahmedabad, the UNESCO World Heritage City

Full Guide of Dada Harir Stepwell (Dada Hari ni Vav)

Dada Hari ki Vav is very huge and has similarly stunning architecture as well throughout its numerous floors.

Dada Harir Stepwell Ahmedabad Gujarat

You can visit this stepwell of city Ahmedabad because it's a bit of a hidden treasure to get away from the crowds. Also, it has a lot more room to roam and explore!

If you a fan of ancient architectures, designs, and structures; or you have little interest in historical stuff then you should visit this Dada Hari Stepwell which is located in Ahmedabad city.

Here in this article, I am going to share with you a detailed guide for visiting Gujarat's Dada Harir Stepwell in Ahmedabad. I will try to cover everything regarding history, location, visiting timings, and much more.

So it will be easy for you to visit this place. 

What is Vavs? - An introduction to Stepwells in Gujarat

Stepwells have a cylinder well that goes down to the water table and has been used for hundreds of years to get water for drinking, washing, bathing, watering crops, and other essential work.

Centuries ago, stepwells also gave caravans, pilgrims, and other travelers a place to stay cool during the summer days or at night. 

These stepwells were made by royal, wealthy, and powerful people. These stepwells were considered both Hindu and Islamic architectural masterpieces.

These ancient structures, which are also known as water temples, have various designs. Mostly Vav's structures are different from others which makes them unique. But simply, stepwells consist of a set of steps that descend to water well. 

Dada Harir Stepwell inside view - Bai Harir Vav
Dada Harir Stepwell - Steps and Pillars

Now stepwells in the western part of Gujarat are incorporated as Hindu temples with shade pavilions supported by columns and intricate stone carvings. 

The Islamic versions were more simple and often had side niches with arches. 

Stepwell is known as "Vav" in Gujarat, while in the northern part of India people say "Baoli". In Rajasthan, stepwells are known by the name "Kund" and "Baodi". So it can be seen that throughout the country, step-wells are known by various names. 

In Gujarat, there are reportedly 100 historic stepwells that have withstood the test of time. India currently has 2000 historic stepwells.

There are a total of 2 Vavs in Ahmedabad that have lasted and are now protected as tourist sites by the Archaeological Survey of India. One and the most popular one is Adalaj Ni Vav which is near the Ahmedabad city center and the other is Dada Hari ni Vav which is less famous among the public. 

I would strongly advise you to give the Dada Harir Stepwell a chance even though the majority of folks head straight for Adalaj.

How stepwells were made?

To construct stepwells, multiple stories of the earth had to be dug out, depending on where the water level is. Stepwells were dug down to reach the water table, which is the level where the water or rocks are always wet.   

After the excavation was finished, the walls were lined with masonry. and differently patterned staircases were added to connect the ground level to the water reservoir.

Dada ni Vav Gujarat

Based on the age and locality, their architectural design might vary, but it frequently combines Islamic and Hindu architectural elements.

Stepwells typically have a vertical shaft from which water is taken and a surrounding inclined underground masonry construction. Occasionally old stepwells contain corridors, chambers, temples, and passageways. 

Corridors and galleries are made to provide a cool and peaceful atmosphere in the stepwell area. Because the purpose of these admirable structures was not only as a water source but it was also used by travelers for resting. 

Around the 3rd century AD, crude forms first appeared. Over time, its design developed into extremely complicated structures.

What were stepwells used for in Gujarat?

Stepwells like Dada Harir and Adalaj were built in Gujarat where there were a lot of dry spells to provide water all year long. 

During that water shortage months, stepwells were the only option that gave people access to essential water storage and irrigation systems.

However, over time these water temples or vavs were left alone for hundreds of years which made these amazing structures disappear. 

Centuries ago, these stepwells were the most important part of the town; especially for the public. But now the scenario is different, town planners haven't paid much attention to these stepwells' value because modern running water systems have made them less important.

A lot of stepwells are now in really bad condition or have collapsed. 

Information about Dada Hari ni Vav

Dada Harir Stepwell is located in Asarwa area, which is around 3-4 kilometers from Ahmedabad Railway station. 

This stunning vav from the 15th century has seven floors, and the pillars that support them are intricately carved and perfectly symmetrical throughout the well. 

There is a huge 190-foot-deep octagonal vav (kund) at the end. Also, there is a small spiral staircase inside the building that leads to it.

dada harir stepwell ahmedabad gujarat
Spiral Staircase

Bai Harir Stepwell is quite special because it has both Arabic and Sanskrit writing inside, along with Jain and Hindu idols. 

This stepwell was built as a space to be shared by all communities, as evidenced by the fact of carvings from both the Hindu and Islamic religions. Moreover, on the walls, there are Persian carvings of flowers and elephants.

Even 500 years ago, the Dada Harir Stepwell welcomed tourists from far away. Even within, there is an inscription that expresses that.

Inside the stepwell, the temperature decreases as the level drops. These structures were designed that way because as we mentioned earlier the use of these stepwells was not only to store water but also for travelers to rest there.

amazing dada harir stepwell asarwa ahmedabad

So these structures were used to provide a cool atmosphere during the summer season. Before there was such a thing as a hotel, some traveling traders would even spend the night here.

History of Dada Harir Stepwell (Dada Hari Baoli)

The Persian inscription found within the stepwell states that Dhai Harir, a Mahmud Begada household lady, built this stepwell in 1485.

Bai Harir Vav - Dada Harir Stepwell

She was buried in a tomb that Dhai Harir built, along with a mosque.

The inscriptions state that she paid for the construction personally, which would have cost about 3700 US dollars at that time.

It was a small fortune back then. 

Sanskrit and Arabic inscriptions can be seen on the south and north walls, respectively, of the first gallery of the well.

There is Arabic writing, which states:

“This holy and wholesome water; the splendid travelers’ rest-house enclosed on four sides by carved and painted walls, and a grove of fruit trees with their fruit, a well, and a pool of water for the use of man and heist, were built in the reign of the Sultan of the Sultans of the age, established by the grace of God and of the faith, Abul Fath Mahmud Shah, son of Muhammad Shah, son of Ahmed Shah, son of Muhammad Shah, son of Muzaffar Shah the Sultan, may God keep his kingdom. Dated the metropolis of the kingdom the 2nd of Jamadi-ul-awwal in the 26th year of the reign”

Dada Harir Stepwell Location

The Ahmedabad Junction railway station is about 3 kilometers away from the stepwell. The vav is located in the Aswara area. From the railway station, it's a 30 minutes walk.

Dada Harir Stepwell Location

If you are visiting the Sabarmati Riverfront then Dada Hari ni Vav is really close from there. And, the majority of the city's guesthouses, hotels, and hostels are located there.

If you are facing difficulties to reach the stepwell then you can ask someone for the location of the Civil Hospital. From the Civil Hospital, it will be easy for you to find Bai Harir Sultani Stepwell

How to reach Dada Hari ki Vav

You can take Uber, Ola, or Auto Rickshaw/Tuk-Tuks to reach stepwell. It will be easy for you to travel within and around the city. 

Depending on where in Ahmedabad you are staying and traveling from, you should prepare to spend between 50 and 300 rupees to reach the Bai Harir Stepwell.

Timings of Dada Harir Stepwell

Visitors are welcome to explore the Bai Harir Stepwell any day of the week between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm.

At the very least, I would recommend planning at least one to two hours for your visit. You'll be surprised at how much time you spend in this location simply sightseeing and taking pictures.

Entry Fee

In Dada Harir Stepwell (Dada Hari ni Vav) there are no entrance fees or tickets. Anyone can visit without paying any fees, making it an excellent option for those on a tight travel budget.

Places to visit near Dada Hari/Bai Harir Stepwell

In Ahmedabad near the Dada Hari ni Vav, there are a lot of popular places you can explore. Here is the list of some famous places to visit near Dada Hari Baoli:
  1. Mata Bhavani ni Vav - Stepwell 
  2. Adalaj ni Vav - Stepwell
  3. Sidi Saiyyed Mosque 
  4. Sabarmati Ashram
  5. Kankaria Lake

FAQs about Dada Hari ni Vav

What is the meaning of Stepwells?

Stepwells, which are also known as Vavs, are wells with a long path of stairs that lead down to the water level. From the 7th to the 19th century, stepwells were an important part of underground architecture in western India.

What is the type of Dada Hari ni Vav? / Dada Harir Stepwell Architecture Style

The architecture style of Dada Harir stepwell is, it is made of sandstone and was built in the Solanki style. It has seven floors. At the top, its shape is an octagon, which has eight sides. It is built on a large number of pillars that have been intricately carved.

Where is Dada Harir Stepwell situated?

Dada Hari Ni Vav is located in Asarwa, Ahmedabad. Two such vavs exist in Ahmedabad. The first one is Dada Hari ni Vav. It is a 500-year-old vav that was built during Sultan Mahmud Begada's rule. And the other one is Adalaj ni Vav.


Who built Bai Harir Sultani Stepwell?

Bai Harir Sultani, Mahmud Begada's household lady and the head of the Royal Harem, constructed this vav. Directly behind Dada Hari ni Vav lies her tomb in the Sultani Mosque.

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