Oct 3, 2007

Abhaneri Step-Well Rajasthan India

Here’s an archaeological wonder in Rajasthan, India you won’t find in any guidebooks. In the small ancient village of Abhaneri is one of India’s oldest and deepest step-wells, Chanda Baodi and the eighth century Harshat Mata Hindu temple.

Step-wells, unique to India, were used as a royal baths, reservoirs and provided respite from the summer heat. A Rajput king is believed to have built Chanda Baodi, which has separate his and hers royal bathrooms. Sun shaded verandahs, which you can enter, overlook what must be thousands of criss-crossing steep steps patterned like upside down Vs which descend deep into the abyss of the well.

The temple, adjacent to the step-well which was also used for ritual bathing before worshipping, is still active and devoted to the goddess Durga. Remains of intricate stone carvings of Hindu deities are found throughout the well area and as part of the temple structure. The village has contributed many other sculptures to museums in nearby Jaipur.

Excavation of the site began in 1955 and the step-well and temple were open to the public in 1960 under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India. But Abhaneri is only just slowly finding its way on travelers’ radar screens in recent years. It still offers the rare opportunity to sample a stunning architectural antiquity without the crowds. There were no souvenir stands or vendors of any sort when I was there earlier this year.


The village is located 90 kilometers from Jaipur off the Jaipur-Agra highway near Bandikui, a convenient detour off the classic Golden Triangle route--Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

The site is open sunrise to sunset seven days a week except major holidays. There is no entry fee.

10 comments:

Anrosh said...

that's the thought that came to my mind too when i saw your archive not something that you will find in a travel guide.

Wendy said...

Hi Anrosh,

I am quite surprised that the usual guidebooks haven't written about Abhaneri yet.

Georgie said...

The Abhaneri Step-Well was one of my favorite places I visited. It really takes you to a place where you could imagine yourself sitting on one of the steps during the time it was active. Great photo.

Wendy said...

It's a special place and I hope to go back one day.

Anonymous said...

I loved this place. Can anyone help me win a bet with my partner? I say that there is an adjacent well next to the steps where kids were jumping into the scummy water hoping for $. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you may have the wrong place. There was a place next door that was also going under reno and excavation but no pool in sight.
There was a pool at the Taj Mahal. My husband and I saw kids jumping there. Any help?

ashish said...

the abhaneri is a amazing place.......
i am surprised to see it's structure

Piyush said...

the abhaneri has a amazing structure.......
i hope that i will again come here

Anonymous said...

Our amazing driver took us here in February-- incredible sight and amazing that all the incredible stone statues etc are all lying out unprotected given their age! The local tourist guide was overjoyed to see us and even though it was closed for the day took us around the site! The surrounding village is totally unspoilt by tourism--no stalls, vendors etc-went to somebody's home to see pottery being made by both the traditional way, and with electric wheel--I think they were the only house in the village to have a light!(powered off the generator turning the pottery wheel)Received lots of attention from the adorable local kids--cleaned us out of chocolate ha ha--but a must see if you are doing Golden Triangle! almost feel bad for telling people as it won't remain unspoilt for too long!

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