Chand Baori Stepwell :
Chand Baori is a stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Abhaneri is a village in the Dausa district of Rajasthan state in India. It is situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur, on the Jaipur-Agra road.
Abhaneri was originally named Abha Nagri, which means “city of brightness,” but due to mispronunciation, the name was changed. The city is now in ruins, but it attracts tourists from across the globe. It is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and was constructed in AD 800. Chand Baori consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories. It extends approximately 30 meters into the ground making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in Rajasthan. It was built by King Chanda of the Nikumbh dynasty between 800 CE and 900 CE, and was dedicated to Hashat Mata, Goddess of Joy and Happiness upon completion.
The state of Rajasthan is extremely arid, and the design and final structure of Chand Baori was intended to conserve as much water as possible. At the bottom of the well, the air remains 5-6 degrees cooler than at the surface, and Chand Baori was used as a community gathering place for locals during periods of intense heat. One side of the well has a pavilion and resting room for the royals.
What Is Stepwell ?
Stepwells are wells or ponds in which the water is reached by descending a set of steps. They may be multi-storied with a bullock turning a water wheel to raise the well water to the first or second floor. They are most common in western India and are also found in the other more arid regions of the Indian subcontinent, extending into Pakistan. The construction of stepwells is mainly utilitarian, though they may include embellishments of architectural significance, and be temple tanks.
Stepwells are examples of the many types of storage and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. A basic difference between stepwells on the one hand, and tanks and wells on the other, is to make it easier for people to reach the ground water and to maintain and manage the well.
The builders dug deep trenches into the earth for dependable, year-round groundwater. They lined the walls of these trenches with blocks of stone, without mortar, and created stairs leading down to the water. The majority of surviving stepwells originally served a leisure purpose as well as providing water. This was because the base of the well provided relief from daytime heat, and this was increased if the well was covered. Stepwells also served as a place for social gatherings and religious ceremonies. Usually, women were more associated with these wells because they were the ones who collected the water. Also, it was they who prayed and offered gifts to the goddess of the well for her blessings. This led to the building of some significant ornamental and architectural features, often associated with dwellings and in urban areas. It also ensured their survival as monuments.
Stepwells usually consist of two parts: a vertical shaft from which water is drawn and the surrounding inclined subterranean passageways, chambers and steps which provide access to the well. The galleries and chambers surrounding these wells were often carved profusely with elaborate detail and became cool, quiet retreats during the hot summers.
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