The Stepwells of Bundi, Rajasthan

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Bundi is a small town in Rajasthan

Watch our new video about the Stepwells of Bundi.
Bundi is a friendly, blue painted small town with a wonderful palace and a prodigious number of stepwells. Constructed over the last 500 years, they were built to access underground water - for drinking, bathing and for spiritual ritual. It's said that at one time there were over 100 within the city, now there are about 50.

The photo below shows the beautiful Raniji ki Baori, the Queen's Stepwell, built in 1499 to commemorate the queen's deceased husband. This video from the British Film Institute shows the well in 1935.

Raniji ki Baori, Bundi

We've made two visits to Bundi in that last three years to document the stepwells and some of the photographs are in the Photos collection. Tracking them down - and being guided to others by local people interested in our own interest in their town - has been a delight. Looking in the other direction, this is another view of the Raniji ki Baori.

Raniji ki Baori

Below the lower steps is a vertical shaft with steps leading down to the lowest levels of the water. 

Raniji ki Baori wellshaft

The equally beautiful Dabhai Kund Stepwell is an entirely different construction taking the form of an inverted stepped pyramid with steps around three sides, the fourth side being a vertical face with pavilions and windows. It's also known as Roaring Tiger well on account of a tiger that fell into the water and was unable to be rescued by the local people.

Dabhai Kund Stepwell at Bundi

Dabhai Kund pavilions

Dabhai Kund is popular with the local community, for some citizens of Bundi this is the most beautiful stepwell in town. The steps form a superb geometric pattern and the upper levels contain blocks of five different coloured stones. In the photos you can see small piles of dust - the steps are swept each day.

Dabhai Kund steps

Dabhai Kund steps

Not all the wells are in such good condition, some have deteriorated too far to be reinstated but the Shree Abhaynath Mahadev Ki Baoli, with it's series of elegant columns, is undergoing restoration. It's an L shaped well, you descend to the first level, turn left and continue descending under arches before getting to the water level.

Shree Abhaynath Mahadev Ki Baoli

Another L shaped well is one of my favourites. The keys to the Bhawaldi Baori are kept by the lady who lives in the house across the lane. It's a beautiful rose coloured stone, the waters are black and the vertical sides lead up to a pale blue sky. The well is surrounded by houses and for safety's sake the open space above the walls is covered with wire mesh. When you look up, dogs and goats are roaming over your head!

Bhawaldi Bawri

Bhawaldi Bawri dogs on roof

These are just a handful of the Bundi' stepwells but you can more at our YouTube slideshow called The Stepwells of Bundi.

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