5 Ancient Stepwells With Incredible Architecture In India

Stepwells, also called as baoli in India, are wells with steps descending into them, as the name implies. Stepwells, which date back to the Indus Valley Civilization, are a common occurrence in India, particularly in Western India.

They were built not simply to add to the structure, but also to have a useful purpose. These baolis were dug up by plunging deep into the Earth and served as a year-round source of water. Following that, steps leading into the stepwell were created to make collecting water more pleasant and to serve as a source of leisure and worship.

There are around 2000 surviving stepwells in India today. There are numerous that hold water and have become treasured pieces of architecture from various times, despite the fact that they are no longer in service.

Here’s a selection of 5 Ancient stepwells that will grab your attention!

  1. Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi

Agrasen ki Baoli, Delhi’s most popular step well, is tucked away in the unlikely centre of the city at Connaught Place, bordered by high-rises. It acts as a hangout for college students (as well as bats and pigeons) rather than a tourist attraction. It did, however, have its time of stardom in the Bollywood film PK.

No one knows who constructed the 60-meter-long step well. It’s widely assumed that King Agrasen built it during the Mahabharata time, and that the Agrawal community, who are descendants of the King, reconstructed it in the 14th century. Restoration work has also been done in recent years to keep the step in good condition.

  1. Toorji ka Jhalra, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Toorji ka Jhalra is one of Jodhpur’s major attractions, located in the centre of the city’s Old City. The wife of Maharaja Abhay Singh erected this sandstone step well in the early 18th century, but it was horribly neglected (submerged and covered with debris) until recently, when it was resurrected as part of the JDH Urban Regeneration Project. The owners of the adjoining RAAS boutique heritage hotel spearheaded the effort, and the step well’s restoration has been hailed as a unique example of urban rehabilitation. If you stay in the hotel’s renowned Step Well Suite, you’ll have a front-row seat to the monument.

  1. Muskin Bhanvi, Lakkundi, Karnataka

Are you planning a trip to Hampi from Hubballi? Make a point of stopping at this enigmatic yet beautiful 12th-century step well. Many damaged temples and step wells may be seen in the village of Lakkundi, where it is located, from the time period when construction by Chalukya monarchs was at its peak. Muskin Bhanvi, a step well, is attached to Manikesvara shrine. The construction actually stretches forth from underneath the temple, and it contains multiple shrines.

Every year, the village has a two-day Lakkundi Utsav cultural festival to showcase the wells and temples.

  1. Shahi Baoli, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

The royal step well, Shahi Baoli, is part of the majestic Bada Imambara complex, which dates from the 18th century. Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, created the edifice as a ceremonial prayer hall for Muslims. It was designed by a Delhi-based Mughal architect.

The step well, which is connected to the Gompti River, was built as a reservoir to provide water during the complex’s lengthy construction. It was eventually converted into a royal guesthouse and residential quarters, complete with marble flooring and fountains. According to folklore, an employee who held the keys to the Nawab’s treasure house leaped into the well to avoid the British plundering the treasure.

Because their reflections were visible in the well’s water, the step well’s distinctive architecture appeared to provide a concealed view of visitors as they entered from the main gate. The repetitive arches of the well have a unique geometry.

  1. Dada Hari Step Well, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The structure of Dada Hari is identical to that of the more well-known Adalaj Step Well. Sultan Bai Harir, Muammad Begda’s harem overseer, finished it in Ahmedabad a year later, in 1500.

The spiral stairwell of the step well runs down seven levels, past elaborate pillars and arches, and the sculptures get better as you go deeper. Inscriptions in Sanskrit and Arabic are still evident on the walls.

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