Baoli’s or Step Wells are manmade structures which our ever so intelligent and way advanced Forefathers built all across India. These wells served the purpose of storing water and were made for personal as well as public bathing & irrigation system.
It is a well-known fact that the ladies of the house were responsible for fetching water from the wells all by themselves and mostly they had to carry the load for a long time. The Kings and Maharaja’s of those time thought of an indigenous method of lowering the strain on a woman’s back which was caused by pulling water out of the well through a rope and rather build a stairway which led them directly towards the water source.
These Baolis served as the perfect example for Rain Water Harvesting and thus provided the region with water all year round.
Delhi is known to have around 100 Baolis strewn across the city, most of them in dilapidated conditions due to the brunt of time still monuments are being preserved by the Govt and Local Trusts.
If you are in Delhi, do make it a point to visit a few of them, the winds are still cold, the stones still reverberate the golden times.
The most Famous ones in Delhi being: Ugrasen Ki Baoli… cos of the famous movie PK as well as the conservation efforts which has been put into it over the years.
UGRASEN KI BAOLI
How to Reach: The Janpath and Barakhamba Road Metro Stations lie closest. Take an auto from the Metro.
The Baolis also served the purpose of giving shade to the common people during the summer and was famed as Networking sites for groups of people.
RAJON KI BAOLI
It is said that the above was built not for the Raja’s (kings) but for the masons who worked for the king.
This Baoli is very Famous and can be found in Mehrauli Archeological Park near Qutub Minar
How to Reach: Just take the Metro till Qutub Minar, take an auto rickshaw till Mehrauli Archeological Park and follow the sign boards towards the Baoli
Just a few kilometers of walk and you will find a much understated Gandhak Ki Baoli.
GANDHAK KI BAOLI
It still contains water, though murky, the legend has it that the waters contained Sulphur hence was medicinal.
How to Reach: Now this is a the tricky one, it’s completely camouflaged between the village. There are two routes, one which goes through the Mehrauli Archeological park and the other is through the Mehrauli Village. Definitely don’t go by your own car (very narrow lanes) Ask for directions from the villagers. Giving you any kind of address will not suffice.
The forts had it too… mostly for the courtly and often used by the Queens and Kings apart from their personal Hammams
BAOLI @ RED FORT or LAL QILA
How to Reach: Nearest metro is Chandni Chowk Metro. The Red Fort is just 1 km away. Take a rickshaw or walk away. Once you enter the fort, passing the bazaars the baoli will be on your left-hand side, you will have to walk a bit to get there.
BAOLI @ PURANA QILA or OLD FORT
How to Reach: Reach Pragati Maidan Metro station, take an auto till the Old Fort. Once you enter the fort, there are ample directions pointing towards the various monuments and the Baoli.
FIROZ SHAH KOTLA COMPLEX BAOLI
How to Reach: Nearest Metro is Pragati Maidan. Its a 2km ride till the fort. Once inside look for signs towards the Baoli
BAOLI @ WAZIRPUR COMPLEX of MONUMENTS
How to Reach: Nearest Metro Station is AIIMS which is a bit far away from the monument (5 kilometers away)
There are many other Baolis all across Delhi out of which Baoli at Nizamuddin Dargah is also very famous and is active till date (after many restorations)
Historian – Academician Sohail Hashmi says
Delhi-wallahs gathered in baolis to flee from summer heat, they lounged, slept, played chauser and pacheesi with friends or smoked hookahs.”
Over the years, we have not only neglected these monuments but rendered unrepairable damage to them. Today you will either find flocks of birds or couples, trying to pry away from the glaring stares of the world. If we can’t be a part of its restoration, then, at least, let’s pledge to not destroy it any further.
I hope you enjoyed the post and the information. If you need we also organize personalized walks to these places. Please leave your query and comments, we will ensure your queries are replied to ASAP.
Go out.. and explore your city!
Till then… Stay Curious!