You might have noticed the beautiful structures in movies or beautiful photographs of your fellow travellers who have visited India and have clicked amazing photographs of step wells during their vacation and indeed that would have made you feel interested and you lookout for places to visit Step wells as it will be in your bucket list.
Step wells are a form of architecture on its own, this is the place where just a normal act of collecting water from wells has been transformed into a beautiful piece of art. These step wells are known as baoris, baolis, vav etc in various states in India, Step wells acted as a water collection region where you can access via series of staircases that leads to a main water collection area. Step wells not only contributed access to water but also a place to perform religious offerings, bathe etc. These were decorated in such a way that at an angle you might notice beautifully carved staircases that lead to the water collection area
Spread across Northern India mainly, step-wells are now abandoned in its original use and are now a major tourist attraction places. Some of the Major step-wells that you can visit here are.
a) Rani-ka-vav, Gujarat.Rani-ka-vav is one of the oldest and beautifully decorated step wells in India. Located in the state of Gujarat, Rani-Ka-Vav was constructed during the reign of Chalukyas. This remarkable structure has survived major earthquake that hit Gujarat and is now a UNESCO listed super sized structure known for its intricate carvings of Vishnu and other deities which were worshipped during Chalukya period in its every stone.
Located in Patan, a place which is situated around 130kms from Capital city, Ahmedabad, the journey takes around 3 hours and can be visited via chartered taxi or via state road transportation bus that ply every day. You can also notice the elegant structure of Rani-Ka-Vav in 100Rs Indian Currency.
a) Chand Baori, Rajasthan
Perhaps one of the famous step wells in India is Chand Baori, located in Abhaneri, Rajasthan. The place has been featured in many bollywood movies as a setting for its songs and music. Chand Baori has approximately 3500 steps that lead you to an enormous well. The steps here are arranged in an intricate criss-cross pattern and are 13 storey’s deep. The view from the top looks like a rock cut diamonds.
The lower tiers of the step wells were constructed by Hindu King Raja Chanda and the top tiers were completed by the Mughals which makes the structure look both Hindu and Islamic art fusion. If you are a movie fan, then Chand Baori has made a cameo in Christopher Nolan’s , Dark Knight Rises movie.
Abhaneri where Chand Baori is located is around 98kms from the city of Jaipur. You can take bus ride or private taxi to reach here.
b) Agrasen Ki Baoli, New Delhi
If you need an offbeat destination in the Capital City of India, New Delhi then Agrasen Ki Baoli is one such place to visit. Located at the heart of Delhi near to the Connaught Place, the step well is around 60m long which cuts through the city of Delhi. It is said to have been constructed during the reign of Tuglaq around 14th Century and is now one of the favourite spots for locals. The Baoli was made famous by 2015 bollywood movie PK and has been visited by many people.
c) Pushkarni’s of Hampi, KarnatakaWhile, there are many step wells constructed in North India, the Pushkarni’s are some of the step wells constructed down south. Located in UNESCO world heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka, Pushkarnis are ceremonial tanks within the royal enclosures. These are small compared to its northern counterparts, pushkarnis are still a best place for its eye-catching pyramid-shaped stairways. It gives a view of how the ancient temple ruins were once a powerful place for the rulers there.
Hampi can be visited via road and railways and if you choose railways, then you need to step down at Hospet Station and visit Hampi.
d) Adalaj Vav, GujaratAnother step well located in the Indian state of Gujarat is Adalaj Vav, although it cannot beat Rani-Ka-Vav, Adalaj vav is an art on its own. This is an art which has jewel box column with octagonal well shaft and is covered with filigree tracery of carved flowers, elephants, deities and ornamental motifs.
Adalaj Vav is said to have been constructed by Mahmud Begada, who is a ruler in Gujarat Sultanate over the foundations excavated by Hindu Rivals. The ruler was so impressed with the architecture that he put the masons to death to stop them from duplicating the structure.
Adalaj is easily accessible from Ahmedabad and you can take either Taxi or Bus service to reach here.