Saturday, March 9, 2013

Agrasen Ki Baoli


Inside Agrasen Ki Baoli, a medieval step-well right in the middle of Delhi. Baoli is the usual word for step-well.

Howdy Folks

So, I'm in Delhi for some time, and I've got my computer with me, so I thought I would do a series of short blogs (A.K.A "Blogletts"), on some of the lesser known things to see in Delhi. The fact is, even after 5 years at this point (I was first in Delhi, and India, all the way back in 2009), there are still plenty of interesting sights that I haven't seen in Delhi. They just tend to be sights that don't get much attention.





Case in point, today I went and visited what's known as Agrasen Ki Baoli, which is an old step-well that, in its current form, seems to have been built in the 14th century by the Tughluq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, though it appears to have existed in different forms well before that point....from what little I know about it, apparently nobody is quite sure how old the well is, or who built it.

However, what's perhaps most interesting about it is the environment it's in: The step-well, which is quite a striking piece of old Indian Islamic architecture, is right smack in the middle of Delhi's Business district. Though it must have been somewhat removed from the center of Delhi for much of its existence, the modern city has long since grown up around it. These days, the medieval structure is loomed over by high-rises.

Despite the fact that Agrasen Ki Baoli is right in the middle of Delhi, and just a few blocks over from the first hotel I ever stayed in in India (the New Delhi YWCA), I had never even heard of it until a few months ago...and, as far as I can tell, it's not even mentioned in Lonely Planet. Though I had seen it before in a couple of Bollywood movies.


Unexpected graffiti on a wall on Hailey Lane. 


Graffiti Ganesh.

High-rises over the step-well.

Going down into the Baoli. There wasn't any water in the well today. It did stink though....actually, the place is quite beautiful, though it's also dirty as hell...local visitors have left trash all over the place, and it's been colonized by large numbers of both pigeons and bats...the wildlife adds to the atmosphere, and the smell...It's   not a ticketed monument, you can just wander in, and that may explain the lack of sweeping and trash clearing. 

Going up the steps...I would estimate that the step-well is around a hundred feet deep. 

Looking up from the bottom of the stairs. When you walk down into the baoli, it feels like your on your way down into the center of the Earth.

The back of the baoli.

So, that's it for today...I hope to do a bunch more of these short posts in the coming weeks...stay tuned....

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