The Bawari ki Bas stepwell in Rajasthan

Bundi Photos of India Rajasthan Stepwell

Searching for Stepwells in Rajasthan, the Bawari ki Bas.

It's March 2018 and we're driving along back roads in Rajasthan looking for stepwells. As we approach the village of Bas we find the well just where Google Earth predicted. It’s dry and full of leaves from the overhanging trees. The Bawari ki Bas stepwell is one of the most beautiful small village wells we've seen and the village headman seems delighted, though puzzled, that we love it so much.

Bawari ki Bas

He tells us that the Bas people migrated here from another part of India about 70 years ago. I wonder if this was possibly at the time of Partition. The village is called Bawdi ki Bas so appears to be named after the stepwell. A crowd gathers to watch us - these strangers who've come to see their well.

Bawari ki Bas stepwell

We get a wonderful view up the well shaft and marvel yet again at the ingenuity and skill, not to mention the immense labour, that went into the construction of even a small, modest well like this.

Bawari ki Bas stepwell

Rajasthan is a hot semi desert which has a long dry season when the water table falls necessitating deep wells with steps down to the water. At one time stepwells were the centre of village life. Women would come twice a day to get water, talk and socialise - and get away from the in-laws. Designated times were allocated for men and women to bathe.

Bawari ki Bas stepwell

My travelling companion is Tsering, our friend from Ladakh who’s family we stay with. Ladakh is at the northern tip of India, a high altitude cold desert between Kashmir and Tibet.

Bawari ki Bas stepwell

It seems a shame that such a lovely well should not be used and Tsering berates the headman for letting it fall into disrepair; the upper steps are overgrown and full of litter. We have an idea that, even if it can no longer function as a well, it could be used as a meeting place. An even more fanciful idea is that the steps could be used as audience seats for the travelling theatres that were so much part of rural life in India. But, alas, I'm dreaming of another time before television killed off the travelling theatres and entertainers.

Bawari ki Bas stepwell

Extract from my self published book "Village Stepwells of Rajasthan".

You can see, and buy, some of these photos and others in the Photographs Collection.


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