Vadodara’s Department of Archeology has proposed that the seven-storey Pancham Mehta Ni Vav of Vadnagar, built in the 16th century, be declared a heritage site at a central level. Vadnagar is known for its rich history that is clearly depicted through beautiful archaeological structures. So it is not surprising that many historical sites in the city have been awarded the label of ‘heritage monuments’ at the state level. However, if the proposal is approved, this step-well will be the first in the city to be named a national heritage monument.
Pancham Mehta ni Vav stands on the outskirts of the city. It was built by a local leader, Pancham Mehta, in the 16th century for providing drinking water to travellers. Though step-wells of the medieval era are seen throughout Gujarat and Rajasthan, this Vav is unique. It has two wells and is linked to a water channel. The channel has outlets from which people at the upper levels could get drinking water so that they didn’t have to climb seven levels down to the well. The intricate carvings in the stone are picturesque and attract tourists from all over the country.