Breathtaking Chand Baori: Guide To Travel The World’s Deepest Stepwell

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
September 27, 2023

Chand Baori – what comes to mind when you hear this word? Does this sound familiar to you?

Every small town in India has its own distinct identity. We are the citizens of a nation where history and culture reside in abundance.

One such village is “Abhaneri“, which is located in the Dausa district of Rajasthan. And one such wonder it possesses is Chand Baoli, also known as Chand Baori.

This may seem like a common village, but it is the home to one of the ancient and deepest Baori in the world. It was built in the 8-9th century.

One evening while sitting on the roof of our hostel in Jaipur, we were discussing what to do the next day. Although we had to go to Bhangarh Fort (Asia’s most dreaded place), we were not so keen to explore it.

We had already visited some forts in Jaipur. My partner Vipin showed me a picture of Chand Baoli. I became quite curious and was ready to go there quickly after watching its architecture.

Breathtaking Chand Baori: Guide To Travel The World's Deepest Stepwell (3000+ Steps) 2
The front face of Chand Baori Stepwell

The History of Chand Baori

Baori can be seen in many parts of the world. To get rid of the water-related problems, Baoli was used to build in those days.

Chand Baoli is undoubtedly one of the oldest and safest Baoli of Rajasthan. It was built by Chaand (or Chand), the ruler of the Nikumbha Empire, who ruled Abhaneri then.

And as you can guess, it was named Chand Baoli or Chand Baori after the name of King Chand. Its history will take you around the 8-9th century.

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Building such a mysterious and marvelous structure at that time must have been a big achievement in itself. For information, let me tell you that its construction is even older than the Taj Mahal.

It is also claimed that Lord Rama’s younger brother Laxman was an ancestor of King Chand. But no firm evidence has been received of this fact.

Marvelous Architecture of Chand Baori

The plan for this stepwell is square. The entrance of this 30 meters or 100 feet deep Baoli is towards the north. For getting down, it has a double staircase on three sides, while in its northern part, there is a small gallery of pillars where the statues of Mahishasuramardini and Ganesha are installed. Going down is prohibited for the public.

Gallery / Verandah at Chand Baori Stepwell
Gallery / Verandah at Chand Baori Stepwell

It has a verandah on the sides and the entrance hall, which were not part of the original plan and were built later. In those days people of Abhaneri used to come here to get rid of the scorching summer of Rajasthan. The temperature downside of the stepwell remains 4-5 degrees lower than the surface.

Sculptures of Hindu Gods at Chand Baoli
Sculptures of Hindu Gods

The Pattern of 3500 Steps

Are you surprised? Like you, I was also surprised when I learned that Chand Baori has 3500 steps. These stairs are arranged so that they give an amazing look. Photographers may show their creativity here as it’s such a photogenic delight.

I looked down, holding the nearby railing. The green mosses over the water, the fluttering of pigeons, and its serene atmosphere will all try to give you an abstract glimpse of ancient times.

It has a total of 13 floors and narrows down from top to bottom. It is symmetrical in appearance, which makes it even more attractive.

Harshat Mata Temple

At a distance of 70-80 meters from Baoli, you will see a domed temple situated at a height. This temple is dedicated to Harshat Mata. Harshat Mata is considered to be the goddess of happiness and joy as the Harshat word is derived from the Hindi word Harsh, meaning happiness.

Breathtaking Chand Baori: Guide To Travel The World's Deepest Stepwell (3000+ Steps) 4
The yard of Harshat Mata Temple

This village also got its name after this temple. It is believed that Harshat Mata spreads her aura (Abha) in this village, hence its name Abhaneri.

History of the Temple

No actual date of construction of the temple is known. According to historians, it was built around the construction of Chand Baoli. King Chand of the Nikumbha Empire also built it in the 8-9th century. The attack by the Islamic ruler Mahmud Ghaznavi destroyed the actual structure of this temple.

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The priest is sitting near the garbhgriha of the temple

Temple Architecture

This east-facing temple of the Mahameru style is situated on a high mound. The temple plan has the Pancharatha Garbhgrah. It has a pillared mandapa in the front. Only the main shrine and an open pavilion are in a living state.

The top part was once magnificent, but it was made dome after the attack. Statues of Hindu deities are engraved on the outer walls.

Harshat Mata statue near Chand Baori Stepwell
Harshat Mata statue

The statue of Harshat Mata sits in the Garbhgrah. The beautiful sculptures placed in the ceiling around the Jagti above depict the religious and temporal scenes, which is the main feature of this temple.

Local Festivals and Fairs

We talked to the temple priest. He revealed that 10 days before Dussehra, when the Puja Archana starts on Navratri, an Abhaneri fair is held here for 3 days. The priest also informed us that a fair is also held in the month of April.

Temple complex of Harshat Mata
Temple complex of Harshat Mata

Aarti is performed every morning and evening in the temple. The Baori is open for those 3 days as well; there is also a jumping competition (in Baori) among the local people.