Abhaneri, Rajasthan – A Sunday Drive from Jaipur…


Step wells (Baoris) are fascinating. In the days past, not only were they sources of water; they were also used as rest houses by weary travelers, as temples and as community centers. Gujarat and Rajasthan have some of the best step wells in India. We had seen some amazing ones at Adalaj, Patan and Modhera in Gujarat. While reading up about the wells in Rajasthan, we got to know that Abaneri (Abhaneri) has one of the oldest step wells in Rajasthan. “Phir to Abhaneri ka trip banta hai !”

Abhaneri is a few hours away from Jaipur and this was a Sunday outing for us, on the 27th of November 2011. After spending some time at Abhaneri, we decided to take the scenic route back and took some interior roads through the countryside back till Dausa and thereon it was the highway back to Jaipur.

Wikipedia says “Abhaneri is a village in Dausa district of Rajasthan state in India. It is situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Agra road. The place is popular for the amazing ‘Chand Baori’ (step wells) and Harshat Mata Temple. Abhaneri was named as Abha Nagri, which means the city of brightness, but due to mispronunciation of the term, it is changed to the present name. In the present day, this city of brightness is in ruins; still it attracts tourists from across the globe.

Abhaneri is prominent for ‘Baoris’, which are the unique invention of the natives for harvesting rain water. Amongst the other step wells, Chand Baori is the most popular one. This colossal step well is located in front of the Harshat Mata Temple. Chand Baori is one of India’s deepest and largest step wells. The huge tank with delicate carvings is certainly delightful to the eyes. Step wells are the unique concept of India. These big tanks were used as cool places of resort and water reservoir in parched days. It was a ritual to wash hands and feet before visiting the temple.

Adjoining the Chand Baori, there is a temple, dedicated to Harshat Mata. This temple serves as the other tourist attraction of Abhaneri. Raised during the 10th century, the ruins of the temple still boast of the architectural and sculptural styles of ancient India. Harshat Mata is considered to be the goddess of joy and happiness. As per the beliefs, the goddess is always cheerful, who imparts her joy and happiness to the whole village. The temple is worth visiting for its amazing architecture and that too”

 

The older part of Jaipur (on the way to Agra) always evokes a feeling of driving through history…

 

The drive to Abhaneri was quite uneventful. Great four lane road and a little bit of a deviation through the country roads to reach Abhaneri. Finding the Chand Baori was also a painless exercise. It is quite popular with tourists…

 

The well lives up to its reputation of being one of the biggest and deepest step wells in India. A look down into its depths can induce vertigo !

 

The well has been repaired and is maintained by the ASI.

 

On one side of the well, there are structures built to allow rain water to flow into the well and recharge the water table. The galleries also provide a cool resting place for travelers and serve as community meeting places.

 

Symmetry !

 

The ASI has stored broken pieces of sculptures found in and around the well. Some of these pieces were probably from the ruins of the nearby Harshat Mata temple.

 

 

A few meters from the well is the historic Harshat Mata temple…

 

Looking at the platform and the broken ruins around the temple, this must have been quite a big and elaborate temple in its heyday.

 

Apart from the huge platform, parts of the sanctum sanctorum have survived through the ages. Unfortunately, the ruins have been altered over the years and the dome that you see has been added in the recent past.

 

 

Pieces of broken pillars and other sculpted pieces of work lay strewn around the temple…

 

Spent about 45 minutes at the temple and headed back towards Jaipur. Since it was a little past lunch time, we thought of exploring the countryside a little and took the village roads back till Dausa bypass.

 

Somewhere along the way, the road crosses a dried up riverbed…

 

A jugaad or chakdi… A diesel pump set engine fitted to an old chassis…

 

There are plenty of peacocks in Rajasthan.. especially in the countryside…

 

Mustard fields !

 

Came across this colorful bunch of ladies on their way to work in the nearby fields…

Abhaneri was a great sunday trip and well worth the visit.

 

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