Abhaneri – Village of Stepwells

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Abhaneri is a famous village of Rajasthan, which is also known as the village of step wells. Along with the world’s largest step-well, there are many other small step-wells as well.

Along with these steps, Harshat Mata Temple of Abhaneri is also a centre of touristic attraction.

The name of the village of Abhaneri was Abha Nagari (Shining City), but gradually due to the twisting of the language, it got the name Abhaneri. Both these centres of attraction of Abhaneri are lovely specimens of architecture.

Many such step-wells built in ancient times by architects and citizens for water conservation are present in this area, where water is stored. Chand Baori is the biggest and most famous of all these step-wells.

World’s Largest Step-Well, Chand Baori

The world’s largest step-well, Chand Baori, was built by King Chand in the 8th or 9th century. It is also called ‘Dark Light Ki Baori’. In the moonlit night, this step-well appears completely white.

About 1300 steps have been made to reach the bottom of the step-well, an example of fantastic art. It is said that these stairs are made like a maze, that a person who comes down from the ladder is never able to come back up from the same ladder.

Pillared verandahs surround this square step-well. There is also a tunnel in this step-well which is 17 km long. This cave originates in the nearby village of Bhandarej. It is said that many years ago, a procession went inside this cave which never returned.

According to the legend, it is said that this step-well and some other step wells near it were built in a single night. The grand statues of Ganesha and Mahishasur Mardini, located in two niches on the lowest floor of the step-well, add to its beauty.

Raja Chand is also mentioned in an inscription of Baori. This square step-well is 35 meters wide from all sides.

Whatever be the level of water due to the stairs made from top to bottom, water can always be filled easily here. Harshat Mata’s temple located near this step-well is also the center of attraction for the people.

Harshat Mata Temple

Abhaneri - Village of Stepwells
Image source: Civatatis.com

The Harshat Mata temple located near Chand Baori is a unique specimen of stone carving. Due to many foreign invasions on this temple, the idols here have been mutilated.

It is said that during 1021-26, Mohammad Ghaznavi broke this temple and ruined all the idols. This temple, built in the 10th century, still has the architecture and sculpture of ancient times.

It is also said that the Chand Baori was built by ghosts and deliberately made it so deep and very steep that if a coin is tossed in it, it is almost impossible to get it back.

There is a big deep pond in Abhaneri between Chand Baori and other step-wells, which keeps the area cool even during the summer days.

These step wells and temples of Abhaneri make this place a quaint and astonishing tourist spot. You will be stunned to see the architectural specimens and uniqueness of this city of step-wells.

Satvik Singh
Satvik Singh
Satvik Singh is Teaching Assistant for foundation Programme at Amrut Mody School of Management , Ahmedabad University. Prior to his appointment at the University, he received a bachelor degree in English from Banaras Hindu University and subsequently a master degree(English) from Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. His area of research during Masters studies were Indian Philosophy and Gender Studies. Satvik dreams of a day when characters from his amorphous musings would confront him in the corner street. An admitted Stock market fanatic, he feeds his addiction by watching Penny stocks chart on Sunday afternoon.

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