Wadhwan, Kathiawar. Madhav Vav, sculpture in
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a sculpture in the step-well Madhav Vav at Wadhwan in Gujarat, taken by Henry Cousens for the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Western India 1898-99. A stepwell or baoli, it consists of a vertical shaft descending to the water table, reached via tiers of stepped subterranean platforms. As well as being a source of water, stepwells were used as cool retreats in hot weather and also functioned as shrines, many being closely connected with a temple. They are a unique form of underground well architecture found all over Gujarat and Rajasthan. The most elaborate and monumental forms are found in Gujarat, however, where they are called vavs or vavdis. The Madhav vav at Wadhwan is of the usual step-well type; this view shows a sculpture beside a flight of steps down to the well.