Popular on 500px : Jodhpur Stepwell by amarpushkar

‘Stepwells’ are wells or man made ponds in which the water is reached by descending a set of steps. Most of them are multi-storied and required a set of bullocks or elephants turning a water wheel to raise the well water. These stepwells, more than a few thousand years old, are remarkable examples of civil engineering displayed by the town planners of ancient India to solve the water shortage and storage problem. There are approximately 10 ancient surviving stepwells that are largely located in the western and northern part of India.

Jodhpur, an important city of Rajasthan, is home to an intricate system of interconnected underground water tunnels, reservoirs and stepwells designed in such a way that it could solve the water problem of generations to come. This particular stepwell, ‘Toorji Ka Jhalra’ (Toorji’s Step Well) was built in the 1740s by the Queen (Maharaja Abhay Singh’s Consort). Interestingly, this Tanwar (Toor) Rajput Princess hailed from Patan in Gujarat, home to perhaps the finest Step Well in the country. Submerged for decades, its recent drainage, clean-up and restoration has uncovered over two hundred feet of hand carved treasure in Jodhpur’s famous rose-red sandstone; intricate carvings of dancing elephants, medieval lions and cow water-spouts, as well as niches housing deities long gone.

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