Certain western and a few northern states in India are perennially prone to drought mainly because of the geographical and climatic conditions. To cope with these extreme conditions and to ensure that there is a constant supply of water, the medieval rulers in India constructed stepwells. These step-wells also acted as air conditioning systems and were built to last for centuries. You will find fragments of many such step-wells in Delhi, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
The original step-wells also called Baoli, Vav or Baori in some local languages were quite modest in terms of architecture and construction. However, with time, more attention was given to its aesthetics and design. These wells are quite unusual in their structure. Here is a list of some of the most popular step-wells in India:
Rani Ki Vav, Patan
Rani Ki Vav has been recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site located in the town of Patan, Gujarat. The stepwell was built as a memorial to King Bhimdev by his queen Udayamati in the 11th century. The stepwell is a marvellous structure with multi-storeyed pavilions and is the most opulent structures of its type. But the well was submerged by the river Saraswati and was unearthed later by the ASI.
Lakkundi Kalyanis, Hampi
Lakkundi is a small village in Karnataka situated between Hampi and Hospet. Lakkundi is famous for its Chalukyan temples and despite being located so close to the ruins of Hampi it cannot be found so easily. The village boasts of around 100 step-wells also known as Kalyanis. The Chalukyan temples are surrounded by these step-wells, giving them the name ‘Kalyani Chalukyan Temples’.
Chand Baori in Abhaneri near Jaipur is one of the visually most spectacular step-wells and is also probably the deepest and biggest in India. This stepwell consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 storeys. Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in Rajasthan. This stepwell was built sometime in the 10th century and is dedicated to Harshat Mata or the goddess of joy. Abhaneri festival is commemorated usually in September and/or October and lasts for 2-4 days. You can stay at Sterling Atharva in Jaipur when you visit Rajasthan as Chand Baori is just 118 km away.
Agrasen Ki Baoli
Agrasen Ki Baoli is a protected monument located near Connaught Place in New Delhi. The structure is 60-metre long and 15-metre wide. This stepwell is among the very few of its kind in Delhi and comprises 103 steps made completely of red stone.
Panna Meena ka Kund
Panna Meena ka Kund is located next to Amber fort near Jaipur. It is believed that this stepwell was built over 450 years back and was mainly utilized as a place of social meetings. This beautiful stepwell has unique styling and architecture and has a remarkable pattern of symmetrical stairs. You can stay at Sterling Atharva in Jaipur when you visit Rajasthan as Panna Meena ka Kund is just 38 km away from the town.
When you visit these ancient step-wells, you will be amazed by the technique and shape of water storage in those times of India. You can explore more such amazing destinations with Sterling.