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Why were stepped decks built in India in ancient times, and How they look today
Why were stepped decks built in India in ancient times, and How they look today

These structures are simply stunning with their grandeur, beauty and mystery. They are not as widely known as other Indian landmarks such as palaces, tombs or temples. And this is not fair. After all, stepped wells are part of the ancient culture and distinctive architecture of India. So if you happen to visit this country, we advise you to make sure of their beauty with your own eyes.

Why they were made

The first stepped wells appeared in India in the first centuries of our era (between the 2nd and 4th centuries). In areas prone to drought (for example, in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan), it was imperative to provide residents with an uninterrupted supply of water. It was for these purposes that such wells were invented.

The stepped well kept water until the next rainy season

At first they were quite simple, but with the development of science and culture, these structures have become more and more complex not only in architecture, but also in engineering.

Dada Harir Well, Ahmedabad

How the well was arranged

The essence of such a well is that during a long period of rains, it is filled with water, which will be used by people in the subsequent dry season. This method of saving water has been used in India for hundreds of years.

As the water level dropped, the inhabitants descended lower and lower

For the construction of this structure, a square, triangular or round hole was dug (it narrowed as it deepened). The inner surface of the well was stepped so that people could go down. The well also had drainage channels. During the rainy season, such a well could be filled to the brim.

This ancient building is both a gigantic pit and an architectural structure, which was not erected upward, but deep inside.

Stepped well. View from above Nimrana Baoli, Rajasthan

As the water ran out and its level dropped lower and lower, the locals had no difficulty in drawing it down the steps. However, some of the wells were so deep that it took a long time to get to the bottom, and it was necessary to overcome more than one hundred steps.

Some stepped wells are so large that they have several levels and on each of them ancient architects made something like covered pavilions, and which you can take a break and hide from the scorching sun.

One of the deepest wells in India is Chand Baori, located in Gujarat. It has 3,500 steps and 13 levels and a depth of two dozen meters.

Chand Baori

From veneration to oblivion

A hundred years ago in India one could find thousands of such stepped wells, and the inhabitants even attached symbolic significance to their construction - they were built with great trepidation, and this process aroused respect both from the one who erected them and from those around them.

In the past, stepped wells played a vital role in the lives of the people of India

Some of the more sophisticated and sophisticated wells were both a water intake and a temple.

Mukundra Baoli well, Narnaul

As the Muslims conquered certain regions of India, elements of the architecture of Islamic countries began to be introduced into the wells - domes and arches appeared in some of the structures.

Alas, in our time, most of these wells are in a deplorable state and only a few are filled with water. The tradition of constantly using these objects is gone. But, nevertheless, you can feel their former greatness even when you visit non-functioning and dilapidated wells.

Semi-abandoned screw well, Champaner

Also read about The indecent Hindu temple is the Virupaksha temple.

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