In Hindu legends, water has an exceptional role. Water is considered as a frontier between the paradise (heaven) and the earth. Water is also called as “Tirtha”. The artificial Tirtha, the unique step wells of India not only serves as the major sources of drinking water, but also as the chilly refuge for swimming, bathing and meditation. The Step wells are known by several different names. In Hindu religion, step wells are called as Baoli, Baori, Bawdi, Bavadi or Baudi.
Step wells are very unique in India and are commonly known as “Baori” or “Bawdi”. Step wells have steps on the sides of the well. The Steps move down to reach the water that’s underneath. Generally, Step wells are bigger than ordinary wells and are of great architectural connotation. The continuously positioned steps of the step wells that were built with amazing statistical intricacy guaranteed that ancient Rajput inhabitants had admittance to water throughout the year from all sides of the well. The exact intention behind constructing such obscure step wells is not totally obvious. A few people think that these step wells were used as water harvesting spots once. The huge orifice of the step wells acts as the rain-catching conduit that donate to the water that oozes out from the permeable rocks at the bottom of the well.
Anticipated reason behind building Step wells in Rajasthan
Since the state of Rajasthan has hot climatic conditions, even small amount of water is considered precious. In summer season, the temperature shoots up to 100 degrees and the soil could not hold adequate water in the ponds. Hence, a pragmatic solution for water supply was considered necessary for voyagers and locals along the neighboring business pathways. This might be the reason behind building such huge step walls in the past.
Past History of Step wells
Around 1st century AD, the slimy shorelines of major rivers were controlled by the edifice of Ghats that has elongated, trivial sets of corridors and stairs. The identical notion was applied to the edifice of an innovative type of wells known as the Step wells. The most primitive step wells might probably date back to 550 AD. However, the most illustrious step wells were constructed in the medieval periods. It is roughly anticipated that more than 3000 step wells were constructed in 2 major northern states of India. Even though countless step wells are in bad shape now (as they were silted in the distant past or were filled up with debris in the recent times), hundreds of step wells still subsist.
The utilization and conditions of the ancient step wells started to turn down during the British rule as the British government was shocked by the insanitary conditions of the drinking waters in the step wells that were also used as bathing areas. So, the British rulers started to install pipes and pumps. In due course, they banned the use of step wells in some areas as well. Some step wells are now in unstable conditions of protection, whereas a few got dried up.
Architectural Marvel of Step wells
The incredible structural design of the step wells differs by the category, location, and the exact era in which they were built. There are 2 common types of step wells. The first one is the step pond with a huge mouthed apex and modified sides that meets at a moderately low profundity. The next one would be the actual step well category that generally includes a tapered shaft, guarded from direct sunbeams by a chock-full or partial covering that ends with a curved, profound ‘well-end’. Several temples and other rest areas with gorgeous statuettes are transformed into numerous step wells in ancient period. Quite a few step wells were tinted in vivid “lime-based” paint. Even now, one can see the traces of primeval colors adhering to the murky corners of the wells.
The Chand Baori in Abhaneri Village
Abhaneri is a small rural community near Jaipur in Rajasthan. Abhaneri is at a distance of about 96 Km from Pink city. The Chand Baori is one of the primitive step wells in the state of Rajasthan and is well thought-out to be one of the largest well in entire globe. The famous Chand Baori in Abhaneri village is one of the most unnoticed attractions in India.
History of Chand Baori:
Chand Baori, an incredible step well was constructed by “King Chanda of Nikumbha Empire” somewhere between 8th – 9th centuries so as to provide the neighboring areas with a reliable water resource before contemporary water deliverance systems were launched. The Chand Baori is devoted to Goddess “Harshat Mata”, a deity of bliss and Joy.
Wonderful Edifice of Chand Baori:
The far-fetched structural design of Chand Baori is more or less13 inch profound. It appears exactly like a well. There are 3,500 tapered steps in this step well. The steps are prearranged in impeccable evenness and moves down 20 meters deep into the base of the well that leads to a dark green water pool. The green water at the pedestal of the well indicates that the well is of no use now. However, it stands as a remarkable tourist spot of an architecturally exciting construction that is more than 1000 years old. One can also find a beautiful temple adjacent to the well.
The steps encircle the step well on the 3 sides while the 4th side has a group of pavilions that are constructed top of the other. The 4th side of the well with pavilions has fortes with gorgeous carvings together with the sacred statuettes. Also, there is a stately abode with rooms for both King and Queen and an arena for the performing various cultural arts.
In addition, Chand baori also has turned out to be a Social gathering spot for the villagers of Abhaneri. Generally, the locals will sit around the huge step well and chill out during the scorching summer season of the year. The temperature is always about 5-6 degrees lower at the base of the well when compared to the summit. The famous Chand Baori at Abhaneri was marked in a movie called “The Fall”. This step well also made a quick appearance in a smash hit film called “The Dark Knight Rises”.
At present, this Step well is one of the vital assets of the country and is carefully administered by the “Archeological Survey of India”.
Rani Ki Ji Baori, Bundi
The petite urban of Bundi in Rajasthan is often known as “The City of Step wells” as this metropolis has over 50 step wells. The Stepwells or Baoris in Bundi are massive and are also considered as temples. The “Rani Ki Ji Baori” or the “Queen's Stepwell” is one of the most celebrated step wells in Bundi. This step well was established in the year1699 by the rejected 2nd wife of a King. She then converted her potential to community services and built almost 20 wells counting the 46 meter “Rani Ki Ji Baori”. The famous step well, Rani Ki Ji Baori is more or less 40 feet broad at the pinnacle. The two hundred steps built inside this step well slide down to the water at the foot of the well.
In Bundi, there are about 86 Baoris that are spread across the knolls and downhill the valley. During rainfall, these Baoris are filled up with water. The streets channel the run over of water from one tank to the other. The deepest step well is about 46 meters profound. As said by the Bundi residents, these Baoris were crammed with water even during the dry, summer season before 20 years. Before 20 years, the government established profound wells to supply water for farming and metropolitan supply purposes. Hence, the quantity of water plunged. This made all the Baoris into groundwater aquifers by filling them up with rain water (and increasing the water quantity) throughout the rainy season, thereby providing a means for water haulers to pursue the diminishing water all through the summer season. As a result, all Baoris were filled with more water than the tanks. At present, the Indian government and other NGO’s have started to patch up the ancient rainwater harvesting configuration in the state of Rajasthan to construct new structures. However, these projects have failed thus far to increase sufficient rainwater in the Baoris during the summer time of year.