Step Wells with Amazing Architecture in India

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In ancient and medieval times, rulers of the western region of India constructed various stepwells to preserve water in the parched, arid areas mainly – Rajasthan and Gujarat states of India.

The purpose of writing on the stepwells is to create awareness of these magnificent structures, which aren’t just superb examples of exquisite craftsmanship, designing, engineering and construction, these are also amazing to look at, and the history is no less interesting.

We, as Indians, must be aware of the great work done by our ancestors and be proud of what they achieved. More importantly, we must ensure these monuments are well maintained and known to fellow Indians, and the world at large. It is vital because these stepwells are in danger of becoming extinct. Some of these are in poor condition and soon they may vanish.

STEPWELLS were ponds and water reserves in subterranean storage systems. These were built to provide water for daily usage and irrigation, in areas which received scanty rainfalls.

I will provide brief details and provide links for readers to read more on each of the structures/monuments:

RANI ki VAV – Patan, Gujarat  

This well was built by the Chalukya Dynasty in honor of 11th Century King Bhima-I. This was probably built at the turn of 13th century.

A few decades ago, there were herbal plants surrounding the stepwell which made the water good enough to prevent fever and some diseases.

Rani Ki Vav

This is a UNESCO World Heritage site 

C H A N D _ B A O R I 

Chand Baori is situated in Abhaneri (Abhanagri) in Dausa District of Rajasthan.

The stepwell was constructed in the 9th century by King Chanda of Nikumbh Dynasty. Very little is known about the king and the dynasty) but the stepwell is still a landmark even 12 centuries later.

Chand Baori

This stepwell has around 3,500 steps, and it is almost 13 stories and 200 feet deep, making this the largest and deepest stepwell in India.

DADA HARIR VAVAhmedabad, Gujarat – 

This stepwell was constructed in 1485/1499 in Aswara near Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

The history of this stepwell is confusing and debated because it has two inscriptions – in Sanskrit and Arabic. While it was built at the time of the ruler Mahmud Shah Begda, the Sultan, by the lady of the harem, Dhai Harir, it has the classical design of Solanki architecture, and the Sanskrit inscription confuses people as to why the Sultan or harem chief would have a Sanskrit inscription.

Whoever may have built it, the Dada Harir Vav is a classical structure which must be preserved.

HAMPI PUSHKARINIHampi, Karnataka  

This stunning stepwell was built during the illustrious Vijayanagara Empire. This stepwell was in ruins, and it was pieced back together by archaeologists.

Hampi Pushkarini

Rani Ji Ki Baori (Rajasthan)

 Rani Ji Ki Baori literally means Queen’s Stepwell. It was built by Rani Nathavathi Ji in the town of Bundi in Rajasthan. On can see an intricate structures and carved pillars around this stepwell.

Agrasen Ki Baoli (Delhi)

Agrasen Ki Baoli is one of the famous attractions in Delhi. Interestingly, it is named Agrasen ( a character from the epic Mahabharatha). Agrasen Ki Baoli is said to be renovated in 14th century by Agarwal community who are said to be the descendants of Maharaj                    Agrasen.

Rajon Ki Baoli (Delhi)

Rajon Ki Baoli is one of the three stepwells in Mehrauli. It is built in rectangular shape and is the biggest among the three stepwells. It has four floors and levels (stairs) leading to the bottom of the pool. The Anangtal Baoli and the Gandhak Ki Baoli are the other two tanks in Mehrauli.

Agrasen ki Baoli

Surya Kund (Gujarat)

Surya Kund is a stepwell situated in the Sun Temple at Modhera in Gujarat. It is one of the ancient and large stepwells in India. Surya Kund is also called as Ramakunda which has an intricate pattern of steps. Now, Modhera Sun temple is under the ASI and prayers are not performed here.

Adalaj Stepwell (Gujarat)

Adalaj tank is one of the famous stepwells in Gujarat. It is a five storeyed architecture which was one among the ponds that were built during 5th – 9th centuries. Adalaj is a village which is known for this beautiful water tank.

Peralasseri Temple Pond (Kerala)

Peralasseri Temple Pond is a unique one in Kerala. This stepwell is located in Peralasseri near Kannur. The pond is deep with many uniquely carved

Imambara stepwell (Lucknow)

Bara Imambara is famous for the Bhul Bhulaiya (the mazes). There are several architectures surrounding Imbara which are worth your time. The Shahi Baoli is one of the ancient stepwells in Bara Imabara.

Many such stepped tanks are found in Rajasthan and Gujarat. A travel around some ancient stepwells will amaze you about the shape and technique of water storage in those times of India. Agrasen Ki Baoli in Delhi, Chand Baori in Rajasthan and Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat are known for their shape and exotic design.

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