These are called “stepwells” or “baolis”. In India some of these huge structures were erected almost 2,000 years ago. But today they are in danger!
These abandoned places in India are in danger of extinction
A few days ago, we told you about the colorful taxis that can now be seen on the streets of Mumbai. Today is another piece of Indian culture that we invite you to discover. These are called “stepwells” or “baolis”. In India some of these huge structures were erected almost 2,000 years ago. But today they are in danger!
Have you ever heard of baoli? Absolutely not… And rightly so, these gigantic monuments in India are lost in complete indifference.
Victoria Lautman’s Mission
Victoria LautmanAn American journalist discovered these architectural gems thirty years ago. To shed light on their existence and incredible beauty under magic, he made it his mission to document them in detail before they faded into oblivion.
What are these baoli or stepwells?
Bâolis, or step wells, are huge underground wells, sometimes over ten floors, lined with stairs. Their function is simple: to provide access to the water table, the level of which fluctuates with the seasons. During the dry months, water can only be accessed by descending to the bottom, while torrential monsoons fill the waters to the brim.
The oldest stepwells date back to the 2nd century AD. The first works were just simple battlements, but the magnificent temples of works celebrating India’s eternal splendor were transformed into intricate and ingenious structures until they became true masterpieces.
Thousands of baols were erected, but these were gradually abandoned. Many of them today are dry, overgrown and completely neglected by the authorities. When not used as a public dump…
Victoria Lautman traveled through India for four years, identifying 120 structures scattered across 7 different states. She took care to photograph them all and gave us breathtaking images from another time. We hope his work preserves the memory of these priceless buildings!
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