Stepwell at Abhaneri

India and its ancient architectural marvels have always been drawn in parallels and one of the most amazing and intriguing architectural marvels are the stepwells of Northern India. In the Indian state of Rajasthan lies Chand Baori or Stepwells of Abhaneri, as it is famously known, which is among the largest & deepest step wells in the world. The principal idea behind building step wells was to conserve rain water in the desert lands and additionally, they served as natural coolers during the summer months, which were unbearably hot.

Traveling from Agra to Jaipur or from Ranthambhore to Agra or if staying in Jaipur we recommeds to visit the Abhaneri step well. Due to the uniquity architecture and beautiful design the Abhaneri step wells is most famous in the visitors either they are locals, domestic tourists or international travellers. The thirteen storey step well boasts of its exquisite geometry and intricate architecture of the huge pavilion with windows, galleries and balconies.

The Chand Baori is managed by the Archeological Survey Of India.

Due to its amazing architecture and the geometric work from top of the baori towards the bottom, the entire structure the Chand Baori is every photographer’s delight and also the Chand Baori is one of the famous location for the pre- wedding shoots as well as movie shootings

The history of 08th-09th Centuary  Chand Baori at Abhaneri

The history of Chand Baori even predates the Taj Mahal, The Chola Temples as well as The Khajuraho Temples. The step well was built around 8th or 9th Century CE by King Chand Raja, which makes the baori around 1200 to 1300 years old. This makes the Chand Baori one of the oldest step wells of the world in literal sense. 

The city, which is called Abhaneri at present, was known as Abha Nagari back then and the step well was named after the King Chand Raja himself.

The Harshat Mata Temple - Of this godess, only two temples in the world

The king also built a temple adjacent to the step well and it was dedicated to Goddess Harshat Mata, the Goddess of joy and happiness. The temple is located towards the west of the Chand Baori at a distance of 100 metres. The temple was ravaged by Muhammad Gazni when he invaded India during the 10th Century and is in ruins till date.

The damaged pillars and statues of the temples still lie scattered around the main temple complex and its corridors. The central structure of the temple is a domed structure at present, with stone sculpted columns and pillars.

The original structure of the structure that appears as the central dome- roof is said to have been a shikhara tower, typical of any Hindu temple. The original temple is believed to have been built in the panchayatana style where the central shrine is surrounded by four other shrines. All the shrines are in ruins today with very little of the original structures left and now this temple is under the care of Archeological Survey of India.

Myths and Folklores about the stepwell of Abhaneri

Being very old, there are numerous legends and folks associated with the history. As the folklore goes, the entire step well was built in just one night and thus, was the work by not any human, but some superhuman forces namely the djinns. By the looks and the massiveness of the structure, it somehow seems an unimaginable feat though. However, it is the absence of any epigraphic evidence with respect to the construction of the Chand Baori, that the ancient lores are strongly believed by the locals.

The other facts and legends, it is said that one person has never been able to use the same set of stairs to go down as well as climb back up. Also, no one has ever been able to step on the same stairs twice even if they tried.

The facts and architecture uniquity of Abhaneri stepwell

The architectural masterpiece that it is, Chand Baori is a four- sided structure with the famed 19.5 metres deep geometric steps of the step well covering the Baori from three sides and the fourth side is covered by the prominent corridor building with multi-storeyed pavilions.

The top of the pavilions have several jharokhas (windows) to get the view of the well from here. The bottom most part of the pavilions has recesses that hold stone sculptures in them along with religious carvings.

The pavilion houses a grand room with a separate stage that is believed to have been meant for the royals to enjoy performances by artists of the court. There is also a room that appears to be the royal residence. There are galleries that take visitors towards the balconies projecting out, that are supported by pillars and house beautiful sculptures of Goddess Mahishasurmardini and Lord Ganesha.

The structure of the palace building was renovated by the Chauhanas. This is proved by the presence of trabeated arches that were typical architectural style used by the Chauhan rulers 

The entry door to this part of the corridor is now restricted for tourists.

The major attraction of the baori is the incredibly designed double flight geometric steps descending into the water body. There are 3,500 steps built in 13 levels that finally lead to the well and tapers down as one reaches to the bottom, nearer to the water.

It should be noted that the entire structure is built out of porous volcanic rocks and stones. This enables the water to seep through the stones and reach to the bottom of the water pool or the well. As one climbs down towards the end of the steps, the temperature surrounding the area drops by almost 5- 6 degrees as compared to the temperature on top of the baori.

The triangular pattern of the steps makes one climb down sideways and this adds to the aesthetics of the architecture. The other possible reason to build the steps in such fashion is to allow access to more people at one time. A closer look at the bottom of the steps would reveal the presence of concealed shafts that were supposedly used to pull water out from the pool.

Rajasthan Tourism organize Abhaneri festival once in every year

The Rajasthan Tourism Department started the two- day Abhaneri Festival since 2008 which is held in October every year. The annual festival has gained quite a momentum in the past couple of years. The festival is held in the nearby village of Dausa and is visited by tourists from all over the world.

The locals engage in a variety of Rajasthani folk performances like Ghoomar, Kalbeliya, Kachhi Ghodi, Langa, Raas leela and Bhawai. There are puppet shows and art & craft exhibitions held during the festival.

Timings and Entry Fees of Chand Baori Abhaneri

The entry timings to Chand Baori Abhaneri are between 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

The entrance charges for the Indians are INR 25 and INR 300 for the foreign visitors (Subject to change)

The best period to visit Chand Baori is between October to March when the weather is comparatively pleasant.

How to Reach Chand Baori Abhaneri

The Chand Baori is situated in Abhaneri village which is 95 kilometres from the city of Jaipur, the easiest way to reach is to hire a private taxi as there are no direct buses that go towards Abhaneri from Jaipur.

If someone is on a budget trip and wishes to reach the stepwell via public transport, the journey can be broken down into two folds. First, from Jaipur to Sikandra and from Sikandra to Abhaneri one may rent a jeep or cab, whichever is available however this will be more time consuming

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