A week or so ago, on one of our "adventure" Sunday opportunities, Preston and I headed out in an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) for an area of the city called Mehrauli.
We had been in the area thrice before (Qutub Minar), but we had not explored everything there is to see. As a matter of fact, even after this excursion, we have more to continue to explore.
After consulting a book on the area, Preston and I had our sights set on exploring the "jungle" area adjacent to the Qutub Minar park and finding the RAJON ki BAIN.
From the pictures we had seen in the book, this place looked like something that would be in a Indiana Jones movie.
What is the Rajon ki Bain? WELL.....the Rajon ki Bain is a stepwell...built during the Lodi period around the year 1506.
Stepwells are also known as
baolisand this one was probably used primarily by masons, hence the name RAJON.
The water has long since left the area......leaving the well dry....a dry well in Hindi is also know as a Sukhi Baoli.
This stepwell has been well preserved and protected by the INTACH which is the preservation authority in India that protects very important archaeological treasures such as this.
Just next to the well, a mosque and tomb were built.....which came first I am not sure. While exploring the tomb we could not find any indicator on who was buried in it or to whom it belonged.
I have been intrigued with these stepwells since we discovered the beautiful stepwell with Parker this past summer. Most that I have seen since, like this one, are architecturally magnificent structures..........it amazes me that such detailed work was used in the construction of what amounts to a hole in the ground used to collect and hold water!
Exploring the stepwell was equally as fun as finding it after our trek through the jungle. if one so desired, you could reach the floor of the well by navigating the hundreds of steps......no water......mostly trash......that appears to have found its way in one fashion or another.....
There are also several very skinny stairwells, not so easy to navigate if you are my height, but nonetheless, they led from one level to the next.....while navigating one Preston and I came to an area towards the rear of the well......approximately 1/3 of the way to the current floor level and peered through a small opening and discovered the round well where water must have been drawn by rope and buckets. We could look up and see the rope guides carved from the rock along the perimeter of the well........which meant there was a way up to the top.....looking down reminded me of the Hitchcock movie "Vertigo".....the well was very deep..........the walls provided no way out should you fall......scary deep.
After a few pictures, we found our way through the maze of slim staircases which were also being used by a herd of goats, to the flat roof of the structure.....the opening of the well was covered by a
Chattri, a small domed structure or turret supported by columns. It was from this vantage point that you could appreciate the depth of the well and how grueling a task it was to haul water from the depths by rope.
We managed to make our way over to the mosque and tomb.....took a few more photographs before leaving to explore the rest of the the Mehrauli "jungle" had to offer.......stayed tuned for more pictures from our adventure!