Chand Baori, one of the deepest step wells in India, can be found in the remote village of Abaneri just off the Agra Highway about 92 kms from Jaipur. Don’t look for your guidebook to direct you here as this Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) undertaking is an insider favorite.
The four-sided baori (step well) was named after King Chanda who ruled this area during the 8th-9th Century. From the outside, Chand Baori looks somewhat like an old sunken fort. Thick and sturdy imposing walls (saturated with musketry openings) surround the structure met at each of the 4 corners by squat watch towers. The authoritative exterior quickly reveals a different story once inside the narrow, single person metal outer gate.
Why Visit Chand Baori
Now inside, the well looks like an inverted pyramid as the West, South and East sides of Chand Baori are a delightful maze of zipzagging steps leading toward the water’s surface deep below. On the North side, a multilevel series of corridors, projecting balconies and arched passageways provide visitors with stunning views of the step well. The juxtaposition of geometric and Mughal inspired architectural styles clash in a mesmerizing triumph.
There are eleven levels of hand carved stone comprising 3500 steps slowly leading down more than 19 meters below the earth. Metal fencing prevents curious tourists from dropping below the 7th level. A plethora of empty rooms strung one by one on the North side are perfect for exploring if you can withstand the obnoxious sulfuric stench of bats common with India’s heritage monuments.
When you first arrive to Abaneri, you’ll learn there are actually 3 sites which have been slowly attracting the attention of tourists to this area. The first is of course, Chand Baori, the second Harshat Mata Temple which lies directly opposite the street from Chand Baori, and finally the crumbling palace of King Chanda. Domestic tourists make up the bulk of visitors to the latter two sites.
Cost & Timings
Cost: Rs 100. Camera free. Rs 25 Videography
Open: Dawn to Dusk
Pick-up guides are available outside of the building and also once more inside near the ticket counter. Fees are negotiable.
Plan for 30-60 minutes to properly experience Chand Baori.
There are no local restaurants or hotels for staying tourists. Toilets (western and Indian) are stationed outside Chand Baori.