Step wells – or Baoris, is one of the things we were looking forward to seeing in India.
Step wells could be seeing as a flipped pyramid surrounded by stairs. They were build with the purpose of storing monsoon rain water.
The construction of step wells in India dates from at least 600 BC (though the first rock-cut step wells in India date from 200-400 BC) with its peak between the 11th to 16th century.
The step wells had social and religious activities significance, but after British domination, authorities forced the abandonment of the wells, for sanitary reasons.
Ever since then the step wells acquired the connotation of being hunted places.
We have been to Chand Baori in Abhaneri, a village in the Dausa district of Rajasthan, situated around 95 km from Jaipur, on the Jaipur-Agra road.
Chand Baori consists of 3,500 steps over 13 stories. It extends approximately 30 m. into the ground making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
The Rajasthan area is extremely arid, and the design and final structure of Chand Baori was intended to conserve as much water as possible.
At the bottom of the well, the air remains 5 to 6 degrees cooler than at the surface, and Chand Baori was used as a community gathering place for locals during periods of intense heat.
In Delhi we have been to Agrasen ki Baoli .
With 103 steps, this Baoli is among a few of its kind in Delhi. The visible parts of this historical step well consist of three levels. Each level is lined with arched niches on both sides.
The atmosphere is always kind of heavy when you are inside a Baori.
The air is quite humyd, and you keep going from extreme sunshine to cold shadows, where you may find a good amount of bats, not a pleasant surprise…
But though the odd atmosphere, this ´negative-spaces’ is beyond interesting.
Visiting the Baoris was for sure magic, and if you are plannig to travel around India, dont miss out the step wells on your way!
talk to you soon,