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The Forgotten Stepwells: Thousands of Masterpieces in Engineering, Architecture and Craftsmanship Provide a Window into India’s Past

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Stepwells are magnificent architectural structures found in India that tapped into underground water tables, providing a year-round water supply. Thousands of the engineering masterpieces are dotted around the country, many containing ornate and intricate carvings depicting Hindu scenes. While many are now dilapidated and in a state of disrepair, others remain as visually stunning windows into India’s glorious past.

As its name suggests, a stepwell consists of a well / pool of water which may be accessed via a flight of stairs. Whilst it is not entirely clear as to when stepwells began to be constructed, the archaeological excavation of Mohenjo-daro, one of the largest settlements of the Indus Valley Civilisation, has uncovered a large structure resembling a water tank. This has been dubbed as the ‘Great Bath’, and may be a precursor to the decorative stepwells of India.

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The Rav Ki Vav Stepwell in India. Source: BigStockPhoto

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