Historic building, 90 km from Jaipur
Opening hours: dawn-dusk
Address: Abhaneri, Rajasthan
Ticket price: Indian/foreigner ₹25/300
Visit duration: People typically spend up to 30 minutes here
Chand Baori is a stepwell located in the town of Abhaneri, 90 km east of Jaipur. It is one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India. This stepwell portrays the uniqueness of ancient Indian architecture that is lost in the modern world. Chand Baori is a millennium-year-old architecture still flaunting its majesty in contemporary times.
An overview image of the Chand Baori can only project the well and the stairs but what it fails to capture is the intricate and detailed architecture of the complex. The architecture of the stepwell can be appreciated only by visiting the place in person.
Chand Baori dates back to the 8th century. It is named after a regional ruler of the Nikumbh dynasty, Raja Chanda. The extreme arid weather of Rajasthan influences the design of Chand Baori's structure allowing it to conserve water as much as possible.
A powerful dynasty called Nikumbh ruled the region for almost 400 years. The king was a devotee of Goddess Harshat Mata who symbolises joy and happiness. He dedicated the complex to the Goddess for the prosperity of his kingdom.
The temple of Harshat Mata has been a pilgrimage site and the well quenched the thirst of many pilgrims travelling from a far distance during numerous significant religious and ceremonial activities.
During the 18th century, the upper stories, the column arcade, art galleries and a retaining wall around the well were added during the Mughal rule.
Abhaneri Stepwell is a four-sided well which is 100 feet deep. It has 13 storeys and 3,500 steps to descend to the bottom. The air at the bottom of the complex is cooler than at the surface.
Chand Baori was built with red sandstones. You can enter the complex through a simple doorway. The humble and bland look of the exterior of the gateway contrasts with the interior which is designed with numerous pillars adjoined by archways. These pillars are engraved with floral and arabesque patterns. The sunray penetrating inside the gallery gives a mystic and antique vibe to the visitors.
The door extends itself into a wall that encloses the entire complex. Each corner has octagonal rooms that lead to the narrow roof and highlight the edges. A column arcade supports the narrow terrace of the complex. These pillars mark the split between the gallery and the pathway.
The entrance side of the complex has galleries on two floors which were used by the royals as the resting room and as you descend the stairs the galleries disappear into a simple brick wall. The entrance draws the first step to descend into the well with a staircase located on both sides. The tunnels ushers to the stairs on the other three sides which are filled with numerous 6-7 steps staircases.
The stepwell houses some idols of Lord Ganesh and Mahisasurmardini along with some stunningly carved jharokhas. Figurines of gods and goddesses and arabesque designs are intricately carved on the pillars and walls of the complex.
At the back of Abhaneri Stepwell is the Harshat Mata temple. The path is decorated with stone carvings that are settled on either side and ushering you to the staircase that is attached to the temple. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is adjoined to a dome-shaped open mandapa that is supported by pillars. The walls and pillars of the temple illustrate the mythological figures and arabesque pattern that portrays the skills, talent and craftworks of the artisans and sculptors that developed the entire complex.
Abhaneri Stepwell is open every day from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The entry fee costs ₹25 for Indians and ₹300 for foreign.
Chand Baori Stepwell is located in the village of Abhaneri. It is a nice place to visit on the way between Jaipur and Agra. Chand Baori Stepwell is a 1.5-hour drive from Jaipur, a 2-hour drive from Fatehpur Sikri and less than 3-hour drive from Agra.
The upper palace of the stepwell is now restricted to tourists.
Abhaneri Stepwell hosts the annual Abhaneri festival to pay respect to Goddess Harshat Mata. It is a three-day festival which occurs before the Sharad Navratri.
No, tourists are not allowed to descend the stairs of the stepwell.