A Perfect Guide to the Most Beautiful Stepwells in India
India is one of the fastest-growing tourist attractions. This fifth populous country is a treasure full of culture and history. With 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it has become the 6th in the list of countries with most recognized heritage sites.
One of these sites is the beautiful stepwells in India. India’s most beautiful stepwells were initially built to store water and provide people with water in northern hotter regions in India but have now become artistic architectural sites. These stepwells in India were beautifully designed but lost their purpose after the evolution of water-storing tools.
Let’s talk about some of the most beautiful stepwells of India.
1. Chand Baori, Abhaneri, Rajasthan
One of India’s most beautiful stepwells in India is the Chand Baori stepwell situated in Abhaneri near Jaipur. With almost 3500 stairs, it constitutes of 13 underground floors with a 64 feet depth. This square-shaped stepwell’s stairs were made in a crisscross manner, reflecting amazing builder skills.
2. Panna Meena ka Kund, Jaipur, Rajasthan
This 16th century built beautiful stepwell in Jaipur is located near the famous Amber fort. Panna Meena Kund is an eight-story step-well and was constructed in such a way that a person could reach water at any level using a flight of steps. Because of the unusual symmetry of this stepwell, locals have a belief that nobody can use the same stairs to get down and go upstairs here.
3. Nahargarh Stepwell, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Unlike other stepwells in Rajasthan, Nahargarh fort stepwell design is a unique one in that there’s no symmetry in kind of steps cut out of the hillside to collect water in. This stepwell in Jaipur was built in 1734 by the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. This stepwell has been featured in Aamir Khan starrer Bollywood movie Rang de Basanti.
4. Toorji ka Jhalra, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Situated just a few hundred meters away from the clock tower, Toorji Ka Jhalra also known as stepwell of Jodhpur was built in 1740. It is one of the less explored sites in Jodhpur. For a long time, Toorji ka Jhalra was used as a dustbin for locals and was submerged with garbage. Recently this stepwell was cleaned up and excavated down 200 feet to expose carvings of moving elephants, medieval lions, cow waterspouts, and specialties that indicated different divinities.
Also Read: Lesser Known Heritage Hotels in Rajasthan
5. Rani ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
Rani ki Vav literally meaning Queen’s stepwell is situated in Patan town in Gujarat. This stepwell in India is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site for the elegantly design and it is carved with Lord Vishnu’s figurines, other Hinduism gods, extraterrestrial beings, and different flowers. Rani ki Vav is designed as an underground shrine or inverted temple. This stepwell in Gujarat was built in the 11th century and was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati river and silted over. It was rediscovered in the 1940s and restored in 1980s by the Archaeological Survey of India.
6. Adalaj Ni Vav, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
This sophisticated five-story deep stepwell in India, also know as Rudabai Stepwell, is situated in a village called Adalaj near Ahmedabad. Rana Veer Singh ordered the construction in 1498 for his love of life, his wife. Adalaj vav has a tragic history of love and war and therefore it is constructed in Indo-Islamic architecture, where floral patterns representing Islamic culture with the symbolization of Hindu gods.
7. Dada Harir Vav, Ahemdabad Gujarat
Another addition to beautiful stepwells in India is the Dada Harir stepwell in the Asarwa area of Ahmedabad. Completed in 1499, Dada Harir stepwell is octagonal in the plan at the top, built on intricately carved large number of pillars. This seven-storey stepwell has a spiral stairway that takes visitors to each storey. The deeper levels of this abandoned stepwell show engravings on walls, both in Arabic and Sanskrit.
8. Surya Kund Stepwell, Modhera, Gujarat
Surya Kund is another stepwell in Gujarat located in the Sun Temple at Modhera. Built in the 11th century during the reign of Chalukya dynasty, Surya Kund is one of the ancient stepwells in India. This huge stepwell is filled with more than 100 steeple temples and shrines, making it look no less than a gallery filled with artifacts.
9. Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi
Located near to Connaught Place, Agrasen ki baoli is among the most popular stepwells of India after being featured in blockbuster Bollywood movie PK. It is said to be built by King Agrasen of the epic Mahabharat and was later renovated in the 14th century by the descendants of King Agrasen. With one single stairway, the stepwell opens up to 60 meters of space and it is completely dried up these days. Local people believe that this abandoned stepwell is haunted by jinns.
10. Rajon ki Baoli, Delhi
Another stepwell in Delhi is the Rajon ki Baoli located in Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Constructed by Daulat Khan during the Lodi reign in the 16th-century, Rajon ki Baoli is three storeys below ground level. As it was built during Islamic reign, which makes the architecture thoroughly Islamic with tiers stepped with stucco motifs and shelves for lanterns used to light up the place in darkness.
11. Pushkarinis, Hampi Karnataka
Hampi was once a grand city in the Vijaynagar empire with many beautiful architectural temples and sites. Today it is an abandoned city with a lot of ruins. Some of these ruins are pushkarnis. Pushkarnis are the sacred water tanks or stepwells situated next to temples. Some stepwells with remarkable architecture are pushkarnis near Achyuta Raya’s Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Krishna Bazaar, Vittala Temple.
12. Peralassery Temple Stepwell, Kannur, Kerala
Peralassery Sri Subramanya Temple is situated around 14 km away from Kannur. This temple attracts a lot of people for its religious significance and a stepwell just outside the temple. This stepwell of Kannur is the largest stepwell in Kerala. Because of its brilliant architecture, it is also popular among photographers.
If you’re into deep-rooted ancient architecture and want to be stunned by the glorious primeval sights, then visiting these mind-blowing stepwells in India will be a fun start with lots of history and tragic stories to learn along the way.
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