If there is a way to see a place, then it is to walk through the heart of that place. So I walked!
From the station, by the grace of Google maps, i identified a short route to Siddhi Saiyyed Mosque. Siddhi Saiyyed Mosque is a must visit if you are interested in Amdavad and not in the present day Ahmedabad. I shall tell you about the mosque later, but let me share with you what i found on my way.
I walked around Sarangpur Water Tank into a busy market, towards Gandhi Marg. I was sweating like a pig, the laptop bag which was the only backpack i had, was hurting my back.
I moved on through the bustling market which looked like one of Old Delhi’s numerous lanes. Cows shopped for food and i found a Chole Batura vendor who served me a delicious plate, my breakfast.
As per Google maps, i was very near to the intersection of Gandhi Marg and there i saw the first gate of Amdavad, Panchkuwa Darwaja. It is younger compared to the other 20 gates, build when the grand city of Amdavad expanded. I walked around the gate, clicking some pictures and accidently stumbled upon the find of the day. A unique L-shaped baoli – Amritavarshini Vaav
Read more about the gates of Amdavad here: click here
Some pictures of Panchkuwa Darwaja:
This was the first baoli (step-well) i have been to, outside Delhi. When I compare it to Rajon ki Baoli in Mehrauli, its definitely small. But the unique L-shape is very uncommon, so they say!
Unlike most Baolis in Gujarat, it didn’t have much decoration or carvings on it – or was it lost during the renovations? A question which might never be unanswered. There was no mention of this baoli in any of the articles i read about Amdavad during my train ride or in the Google maps. It was built somewhere around 1723 by Raghunath Das, the then Dewan of the governor of Gujarat, Haider Quli Khan.
I walked down the steps of the baoli and couldn’t stop myself from noticing that the baoli had arches above the steps. Its very unlike the ones in Delhi where the steps where open to the blazing Sun.
Later i realised that Baolis in Gujarat were carefully constructed to minimise water evaporation, no wonder most of them didn’t let sunlight inside – source: @Zenrainman
I didn’t find any proclamations of love by local Romeo’s on the walls of this step-well, surprisingly the lovebirds of Gujarat spared this monument. The well was not that deep as i had expected it to be, but it didn’t have any water as it was the case with other step-wells i have been to. Out of the few baolis i have visited, the only active step-well with ample water is the one in Feroz Shah Kotla (Delhi).
The step-well was like a natural air conditioner, i sat down on the steps uninterrupted, alone. Step-wells are a fascination for me since i first saw them at Mehrauli Archaeological Park (Rajon ki Baoli). I come from a land where every household have a well (at least one for every few house in the plains). But to use a well as a place for socialising was very interesting. I guess it reflects their understanding of water as an essentiality like air. Or is it the dip in the temperature near the wells? If so, why ornate the walls and steps of a Baoli so elegantly, as if it is a matter of pride?
I couldn’t stop the strings of questions which echoed in my mind. Living in a society where socialisation is a rusted concept (Delhi), where neighbours for years are strangers, can such a structure bring people closer?
I kept wondering while the clock ticked faster, ahead.
This post is in continuation to Chalo Patang Udaane – in search of Amdavad (I)
Read the next travel note in this series here: Chalo Patang Udaane – in search of Amdavad (III)