“ City: Jaipur / Country: India / Region: Asia „
The amazing Step well (Chand Baori) of Abhaneri. Rajasthan.
The village of Abhaneri is a small Rajasthani village approximately 50 miles from Jaipur and is home to the largest step well in the world. So what you may well ask? It is here in this small village that the worlds biggest step well can be found.
What is a step well?
A step well as the name suggests is a very deep well that collects water and the sides are constructed by a series of steps which serves several purposes. One to access the well to take many people down to the water level, and two it acts as a measurement device letting you know how much water the well contains. It is thirteen stories high and has over 3500 steps leading down to a depth of 100 feet.
On one side of the well there are cooling rooms built deep down inside the well surrounded on the other three sides by the steps. There are also anti chambers inside the well which kept members of the Royal family cool in the oppressive heat of the desert region.
The reason these wells were built was to collect any water that fell because Rajasthan is a very arid region of India but when the monsoon arrives in India the well fills up quite quickly and dramatically which ensures that the village has water for the rest of the year.
We visited at the end of February and the well was nearly empty exposing the rooms with finely carved pillars and all the levels of steps deep inside the well. The well was built in the 10th Century and it is a remarkable feat of engineering considering the lack of modern day tools. Some similar wells date from the earlier 2nd century and are unique to the Northern parts of India and Pakistan,
At the top of the well surrounding the top platform is a colonnaded area housing reliefs of Hindu Deities that were in various states of disrepair. Next to the step well there are ruins of a temple for the goddess Harshat Mata who was the goddess of Joy and Happiness which is the second tourist attraction in this very poor village.
The village is quite sparse and there were no salesmen or hawkers selling souvenirs here. Lots of village children came running up to say hello. They were all cheerful and happy looking kids with nothing much to do in the village apart from play games with each other.
You can see this marvellous structure on You Tube.