Agrasen Ki Baoli

Delhi is perhaps one of the most ancient cities in the world with continuous in-habitation since at least 6th century BC.Over the ages, Delhi has been invaded innumerable times, burnt to ashes only to rise again. And when you have such an ancient city with continuous in-habitation, you invariably have lots of old buildings of immense historical significance.

Since my sister and brother-in-law reside in Delhi, I usually visit them once a year around October/ November. During my last visit in November 2013, I had a specific request. I wanted to visit as many historical monuments as possible, because I wanted to take as many photos as possible for my blog.I should point out that Delhi has so many monuments, that it probably requires a month to visit all of them! I will try to cover the ones I visited during my 3 day visit, in the next few posts.

Today I want to share photographs of one such architectural structure, not that well-known, but beautiful nonetheless.

Agrasen ki Baoli is a historical step-well on Hailey Road, very near to Connaught Place in New Delhi (referred to as CP, by those familiar with the city). It is believed to have been first built by the legendary king, Agrasen during the period of the epic, Mahabharat. The present structure is assumed to have been rebuilt by the Agarwal community, which traces its links back to Maharaja Agrasen, around the 14th century. Baoli is a hindi word, meaning step-well. Hence, Agrasen ki Baoli means, Agrasen’s Step-Well.

Step-wells were made usually in the northern and north-western parts of modern day India, mainly as reservoirs to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. They also served as places where people could rest, as the wells provided relief from the daytime heat. The steps ensured that people could easily access the water, when the water level was low. These step-wells usually also acted as places of religious and social gatherings, which led to the building of significant ornamental and architectural features. It also ensured their survival as monuments.

The well is 60 meters in length and 15 meters wide. It has 103 steps. Earlier, the lower steps used to be submerged in water, but presently, it is absolutely dry, and one can go to the very bottom of the well.

If you are in New Delhi, it’s a place you must visit.

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This post is also posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective. Hope you liked the tour. πŸ™‚

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60 thoughts on “Agrasen Ki Baoli

  1. Wow, thanks for this amazing tour! This is the first time I am hearing of Agrasen ki Baoli, and am sure the place was as magnificent as it looks in the photos! This would definitely be a place I’d like to visit in Delhi someday!

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  3. Impressive! Good perspectives too! So why was this built in the first place? Just a beautiful monument to impress? Or is/was there some purpose for the construction?

    • Thank you! And thank you for the question, because I should have mentioned the purpose behind Baolis in the post itself. Will do it now…These step-wells were made usually in the northern and north-western parts of modern day India, mainly as reservoirs to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. They also served as places where people could rest, as the wells provided relief from the daytime heat. The steps ensured that people could easily access the water, when the water level was low.

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    • Thank you very much, my friend! And thanks for pointing out your favourite…helps me figure out which are the better ones! Though personally I also like something about the last capture…it somehow captures the size of the structure and the couple in the frame add a hint of romance! which somehow makes the story interesting…

    • Thank you CG!! πŸ™‚ See…now you have a good reason to come for a trip to India!! πŸ˜€ And I am sure I can throw a few places worth visiting which you would have missed the last time around! πŸ™‚

      • I’m looking forward to see more posts from Delhi. Maybe there’s other places there that I missed out on too…? India is too far away and too expensive to travel to. Especially now that we’re 3 persons, so most likely I won’t come for a return visit (but no one knows what the future might hold).

    • hahaha…what you have experienced is a typical example of “Indian English”…its not exactly pidgin English, but, quite hilarious!! πŸ˜€ And, what’s more hilarious is the fact, that I am quite a snob who tries to show off his command over English…hehe..and now I have made the same mistake! And yes, you got it right..my sister and bro-in-law reside in Delhi! After you pointed this out, I actually re-read the whole thing, and found quite a few grammatical mistakes! πŸ™‚

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  9. God, isn’t Delhi just stunning? It’s too bad I felt unsafe but that’s something I was able to ignore the minute I came across one of these gems. It just makes you feel so small and part of something so big.

    • Yeah I agree…and yes, I totally agree that it is not a place I would recommend for its safety and specifically treatment of women! But yes, the monuments do take your breath away! πŸ™‚

  10. Oh! I love this place. I only discovered it in 2011, when I went Delhi, and re-visited it few more times the following year. Delhi’s among my favourite cities ever, along with Paris, Vienna,Venice, Geneva et al… This step well is actually called Ugrasen Ki Baoli.
    Very well detailed post.

    • Thanks a lot! You are right, it is also called Ugrasen ki Baoli…in fact, at the site at one place it is written Agrasen ki Baoli and at another, Ugrasen ki Baoli! πŸ™‚ And Delhi definitely is an awesome city to tour!

  11. Next time you are in delhi, go to Mehrauli. The park there(off M-G road) has some beautiful historical treasures incl a abolition and a summer house. Beautiful pics….glad i stumbled upon your blog πŸ™‚

    • Hey! Thank you for dropping by! I have been to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park( Behind Qutub Complex, right?) and I love the place…it also has a Baoli…forget the name…though…it was couple of years back…so it would be a good idea to revisit the place…Thank you for sharing the great idea! πŸ™‚

  12. I must have been very close to this beautifully constructed well when I passed through Delhi via the train station on the way to Jaipur. Your photos make me wish I had been able to spend some time there.

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  14. My first (and only) trip to Delhi was with a bunch of friends in super-hot June. It was so hot I was happy to cruise past all the monuments in an airconditioned car (I did want photos cos I’d come so far to sight-see, but then the blisterin heat! so I settled for photoshopping myself in front of monuments). BUT Agrasen ki Baoli was one of the..2 that we ventured out to explore. It was lovely and most importantly COOL..like respite from the heat ‘cool’. Also, there were no other tourists there (duh.no sane tourist goes to delhi in June.) so it was really nice to have the whole place to ourselves.
    So, anyway..Just thought I’d tell u YES!ISEENTHISTOO!
    Also, nice blog! πŸ™‚

    • Haha…I agree..Delhi is not a place to sight-see in June…I am yet to attempt it πŸ™‚ So, the good news is…you are a real brave person! πŸ˜› Try going there in winter, I love the monuments the city offers! And, thanks a lot for dropping by! πŸ™‚

  15. This is one of absolute favourite places in Delhi. The juxtaposition of the modern and ancient in one photograph or view always took my breath away, and it reminded me of how old Delhi is and the history the city has witnessed.

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