The heritage of Jalmandir in Gujarat is centuries old. As many as 769 Stepwells or Vavs are located in the state of Gujarat alone. The history of these Stepwells is unique. In which Rani’s Vav is on the top of all of them. Then comes Adalaj ni Vav, Dada Hari ni Vav, Jethabhai ni Vav, Vadhwan ni Madhavav, Chaubari ni Vav, 32 floors’ Kapdvanj ni Kotha Vav and Chaubari ni Vav have been woven with our history since centuries.
Stepwells are examples of the many types of storage and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. For the last two decades, the state government had given the status of Jal Mandir to all the stepwells of Gujarat under the Jal Mandir project creating an awareness about their protection.
But, unfortunately most of the stepwells, mentioned above, are in dilapidated condition even today. Most of the people are unaware of the importance of the heritage monuments. in absence of cleanliness, the step wells are in a dilapidated condition. However, now there is awareness among the people on account of the Jal Mandir project. The people have become more conscious about the heritage stepwells.
There are four types of Stepwell. Nanda, Bhadra, Jaya and Vijaya. The Stepwell with one entrance is known as Nanda stepwell. Many stepwells are Nanda. While stepwell with two entrance is referred as Bhadra, three entrance as Jaya and four entrance stepwell is called as Vijaya.
The carvings of the idols that are inscribed in the Rani ni Vav are extra ordinary. Deraani-Jethani vav near Kaleshwari in Mahisagar district is also exceptionally attractive. Apart from the idols of Gods and Goddesses, idols related to lifestyle were also placed on the Vav. For example, in some cases, the events of baby shower for pregnant women, wedding events, mythological events have also been carved in the stepwells.