The photos on this page are of the Chand Baori, an architectural marvel of ancient and astonishing beauty located in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Just what is Chand Baori, and where do all those steps lead? Chand Baori is a stepwell, and all those steps lead to water. A stepwell is, really, exactly what the word says: a well reached by a series of steps. Rather than dropping a bucket via pulleys down into a narrow, vertical shaft, and pulling it back up to get water, stepwells allow many people access at the same time to the water at the bottom of the steps. Lots of people can climb down those steps, fill a bucket or other receptacle with water, and climb back up. Hey, we never said it would be easy!
Chand Baori is one of the deepest - and certainly most elaborate and beautiful - stepwells in the world. It is located, more specifically, in the village of Abhaneri, near Jaipur, India. It was completed circa 800 AD - making it around 1,200 years old - and the stairs descend the equivalent of 13 stories. There are 3,500 steps.
And at the bottom of all those steps there is still water today:
However, the Chand Baori stepwell is no longer used as a source of drinking water today. It's a fantastic tourist attraction, though.
One of the four walls of the stepwell is given to pavilions and a temple:
Many of the photos of Chand Baori make it appear as though the staircases are very narrow and the sides of the stepwell are quite steep. But in reality the steps aren't nearly as scary as they appear depending on the angle of the photo. For example:
No matter how you look at it, the Chand Baori stepwell is an architectural wonder, and a destination of great beauty and awe.