Top 10 Ancient Stepwells in India

One of the ways to understand any culture is to look and admire its architecture. If you truly wish to understand the traditional essence of India then have a look at some of these step wells that have long since preserved the nations culture in their steps. They were originally meant as the ponds that were used to store water. But today they are the archives of past which need a recognition for their beauty that boasts of scientific origins. Let us look at some of these stepwells in India, the emblems as found in North Karnataka (Karnataka), Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

1. Chand Baori, Rajasthan

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The most famous of them all! This stepwell looks beautiful for its giant structure and spectacular view. This is also the deepest and the oldest stepwell in India. Having gained its recognition in most of the Bollywood movies, this structure is today a favorite travel destination in Rajasthan.

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2. Adalaj Vav, Ahmedabad

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most famous stepwells is the Adalaj Vav, located 18 km North of Ahmedabad, Gujrat - the most famous state for stepwalls in India along with Rajasthan. It is an average of six degrees cooler at the depths at the end of 75 meters of stairs in this beautifully preserved five-story well with octagonal landings. This stepwell also restores the richly documented history featuring the tragic love story of its creation carved on a wall inside the structure in Sanscrit and Pali.

3. Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Admire this baoli meaning stepwell in the midst of the bustling city of New Delhi. Located close to the the famous Jantar Mantar observatory, the well is deep and rectangular in shape. The construction dates is unknown, but it most likely dates to the mid 1300s. A new appreciation for these wells come both from renewed cultural and architectural pride, but also in realizing that the ancient system of holding water still makes a lot of sense.

4. Raniji ki Baori, Rajasthan

Image Source: Wikimapia

Situated in Bundi town in Rajasthan, this Baori is a multistoreyed structure with places of worship on each floor is a 46 m deep stepped well with some superb carvings on its pillars and a high arched gate.

5. Hampi Stepped Well, Karnataka

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

South has its own stepwells to add to the cultural heritage of India. Built in 15th century, the step well of Hampi tells tales of the Vijaynagara dynasty.

6. Neemrana Baoli, Rajasthan

Image Source: Sourav Das/flickr.com

Located in Neemrana village, this stepwell was built in 1760 and is still preserved with its 9 storey underground structure of majestic scale. Built by the Rajas of Neemrana, this structure today is being converted into a crafts haat.

7. Imambara Stepwell, Lucknow

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Each one of us would be aware of this name. Bara Imambara complex in Lucknow is among the grandest buildings of the city. This complex also includes the large Asfi mosque, the bhulbhulayah and bowli, a step well with running water.

8. Modhera Stepwell, Gujarat

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is the most dexterous of the stepwells that carefully preserves a number of shrines, each holding the image of the deity, giving the tank the resemblance of a self contained universe. Look out for the most striking of these shrines which shows Lord Vishnu reclining on coiled serpent. Here, the visitors would have to step from terrace to terrace in order to reach the base.

9. Rajaon Ki Baoli, Mehrauli, Delhi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is a famous stepwell in India, located in Mehrauli Archaeological Park with 100 historically significant monuments. Along with Ghandhak ki Baoli, this place features prominently in the cultural heritage of India.

10. Dada Harir Vavs, Gujarat

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Both the Rudabai and Dada Harir vavs are five stories deep with octagonal subterranean pools, each commissioned by a female patroness and, although Rudabai boasts three separate entrances (a rarity), it and Dada Harir vav are conceptual cousins, built at virtually the same moment just twelve miles from one another, commissioned under Islamic authority using Hindu artisans.

Call them vavs or baori, these stepwells will definitely enamour you with their sheer beauty,history and elegance. Let your imagination get unharnessed and visit these places to undestand how India looked in the past.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NEHA KAPOOR NEHA KAPOOR

A lover of literature, Neha wants to understand world through the prism of books. Nuances of words, spoken or written, entice her to delve into the human psyche. A voracious reader of Partition and feminist literature, she desires to deconstruct and unlearn the congealed forms of knowledge system.

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