Stepwells in India

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The ornate ancient stepwell, or baoli, in New Delhi is believed to have been built by the legendary King Agrasen from the Indian epic Mahabharata era. It was again rebuilt by the Agrawal community.

Stepwells were originally built to create access to deep water levels in arid parts of India during the second and fourth centuries. Many are complex feats of engineering, with features such as ornate carvings, passageways, arches and depths of up to 30 meters (almost 100 feet) underground. When modern plumbing was installed, many were neglected or boarded up completely. In recent years, many stepwells have been restored and their unique architectural beauty rediscovered.

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017. The ornate ancient well is believed to have been built by the legendary King Agrasen from the Indian epic Mahabharata era and was again rebuilt by the Agrawal community.

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017. The ornate ancient well is believed to have been built by the legendary King Agrasen from the Indian epic Mahabharata era and was again rebuilt by the Agrawal community.

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017.

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A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017.

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017.

An Indian boy dives into a baoli, or
(Credit: EPA / Rajat Gupta)

An Indian boy dives into a baoli, or stepwell, at the Nizamuddin Dargah in New Delhi on April 21, 2017.

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide
(Credit: EPA / Harish Tyagi)

A general view of the protected 60-meter-long, 15-meter-wide Agrasen ki Baoli (stepwell) in New Delhi on April 21, 2017.

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