India

Toorji Ka Jhalra

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Toorji Ka Jhalra (Toorji’s Step Well) was built in Jodhpur the 1740s by a Queen, Maharaja Abhay Singh’s Consort, continuing an age old tradition that Royal women would build public water works.

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As with all step wells, the steps follow the fluctuating water table down to provide easy all-year round access.

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Interestingly this well was submerged and full of debris for decades. Only recently has it been drained, cleaned up and restored.

In the process, the excavations went down over two hundred feet to expose hand carved treasures in Jodhpur’s famous rose-red sandstone; including intricate carvings of dancing elephants, medieval lions and cow water-spouts, as well as niches housing deities long gone.

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The well’s original system consisted of a Persian Wheel driven by a pair of bullocks circling the platform on top, which drew water up to two different access levels and a separate tank.

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Interestingly, the Rajput Princess who funded the well hailed from Patan in Gujarat, home to one of the finest Step Wells in the country.

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The whole area around the Toorji Ka Jhalra step well has undergone a bit of urban regeneration recently, under the auspices of a project called JDH, with vibrant shops, restaurants, hotels and cafes.

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Even though Toorji Ka Jhalra is just a few hundred meters from the Clock Tower in Jodhpur, the step well still seems to be largely off the tourist map, which I was quite surprised about. I guess available time and the draw of the Mehrangarh fort prevents more visitors from coming here.

The best time to see the well is probably early morning, by midday it’s always frequented by children and some adults who enjoy having a dip and a dive into what must be extremely cool waters. It’s great to see the local community embracing this heritage monument once again.

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The daily maintenance of the well is purely through volunteers, and they do a great job. The water must be pretty clean as there’s plenty of fish swimming around the tank, who of course get regularly fed by the locals.

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Just 5 minutes walk from here is a second step well in Jodhpur, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra.


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KevinStandage1@googlemail.com

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3 replies »

  1. Hi Kevin, I just got back from a visit to Jodhpur and was looking for a bit more info on this exact step well that I had photographed. I must say, your photographs have really captured the amazing depth and breadth of this piece of architecture. I’ll need to follow your blog to see more of where you go in India and what interesting photos you’ll be taking. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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