Wednesday 9 April 2014

The Magnificent Chand Baoli

I've always had a bit of a love affair with historical architecture- monuments, palaces, forts, old havelies, temples, churches- basically everything encased by the hash tag 'heritage architecture'. But more than any of these, I'm really obsessive when it comes to stepwells. I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this, but one of the things on my bucket list is visiting every major step well in India- sounds silly I know, but I'm completely fascinated by these structures. I recently visited Kesroli for a weekend getaway. The thing that tipped the scales in its favor was its proximity to a beautiful step well. We were in Kesroli for 2 days and on one of those days, we drove down to see the magnificent Chand Baoli.

Chand Baoli is located in Abhaneri village in the Dausa district of Rajasthan. It's about an hour and a half drive from Kesroli on some pretty good roads, except for a small stretch midway. (I was really impressed with the Rajasthan State Highway roads... they put many roads in Gurgaon to shame) 

When you first see the baoli from the outside, you feel pretty disappointed... sort of like, 'I drove 1.5 hrs for this?' But when you enter you're really surprised by its size and scale. The geometry of the steps that descend to the water is magnificent- hypnotizing almost. I wish I had a wide angle lens to really do the place justice :)

As step wells go, this one is quite well kept, unlike so many others in India which have, sadly, been forgotten. It's also not overcrowded and touristy, which is so refreshing. There were only about a handful of tourists while we were there, so one can really get a feel for the place and enjoy it in relative solitude.  

There were some beautiful relics- intricately carved stone pillars and statues of deities lining the passages. I think restoration work on them is underway. 

Here are some interesting facts about Chand Baoli...

1. It was built in 800 AD by Raja Chand of the Nikumbha dynasty
2. It is considered to be one of India's largest and deepest step wells and extends 30m underground 
3. It consists of 13 storeys that are made up of 3500 steps
4. A sequence from the film The Dark Knight Rises and The Fall were shot here
5. Locals believe the well was built in one night by ghosts. Legend has it that the step well contains so many steps so that anyone who throws a coin in the well cannot retrieve it easily.

If you ever happen to be in the vicinity of Abhaneri, you must visit this beautiful step well. It's an experience you'll remember for a long time!

[All Images- Shalini Pereira]

All images are clicked by me. Please do not use images without prior written permission


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  3. How i would love to get my hands on a copy of black white prints of these gorgeous shots! nice job shalini and this was nother interesting read... now I have to add architectural stairwells to my bucket list... my husband and i want to to tour india extensively in our retirement years, we'll see :)

    am catching up on your other posts now.


    1. Hey Deepa... Thanks for such a huge compliment! Think you've inspired me to make a few b&w limited edition prints of a few of my travel pics :) The hubby & I are doing it in bits... a year by year bucket list of the places we want to visit although the list never seems to end!

  4. Awesome post .i hope everybody will like your post


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