Built in the 10th century, not long after the more famous Chand Baori in Abhaneri was constructed, Katan Baori in Osian (or Osiyan, Rajasthan) was not quite as I expected.
Having now visited quite a few step wells in India, I’ve become a little obsessive about them, marveling at their construction and the beauty of the architecture and surroundings. Sadly, the Katan Baori is not in a great condition at all.
If this monument is under the stewardship of A.S.I., they have clearly not given it any attention in years. The well is dry, overgrown with vegetation, strewn with rubbish, and the fabric of the monument is falling down.
It was a sad sight to witness. I strived to explore the well a little, but with fallen masonry everywhere and bulging walls about to seemingly collapse at any moment, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.
What’s even more surprising is that Katan Baori was included on the tentative list for inclusion as a World Heritage site as recently as 2008. How can a monument that is considered this important to the heritage of India, and indeed the world, be allowed to become what it is today ?
Toorji Ka Jhalra and Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra in Jodhpur are great examples of how such monuments can be restored and maintained. Neither of them are under the control of A.S.I. however, so it does make me wonder if a local initiative could be put in place to give this site some attention that it so deserves.
Osian is a small village blessed with a lot of heritage, and I would imagine much of the population rely on the passing trade that tourism gives them. By investing in their monuments, it could ultimately reward so much of the wider community. But I don’t know if this is possible if Katan Baori is “owned” A.S.I.
Anyway, enough of my complaining 🙂 If you’re in Osian it’s certainly worth a quick look and maybe one day someone can comment here with the good news that action has been finally taken.
Update January 2019 !!
I’m pleased to say that work has now commenced on renovating and restoring this monument. You can read more on that in my blog post :
Katan Baori Step Well – Coming Back From The Brink
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Categories: India, Katan Baori Step Well, Osian, Rajasthan
I am neeraj . We wish to initiate restoration of this Baori with oficials. Please allow us to use details on your blog. .
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Hi Neeraj, how can I help you with this ??
Greetings from Our Living Desert HACRA, i am(Gemar singh) a local from countryside of Osian, working as tour organizer in this part of western Rajasthan (Delhi2Desert) today i felt very glad and same time sad( as always when i visit Katan Baori at Osian) after reading your blog post about this beautiful peace of history,art and most important culture of WATER.
thanks lot for putting a spot light on Katan Baori through your blog we all hope that government department Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will come with a good restoration plan for this invaluable local heritage, if it happens i am sure it will bring much more tourism to this area that will benefit to all us locals as well pleasure experience for travelers.
keep writing such true blogs and i am sure it helps.
Best Wishes from Our Living Desert HACRA.
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Namaste Gemar !
Thanks for your comments. I have heard recently from a guide in Osian that the ASI are now planning on restoring the baori and maintaining it. I have no further details, and of course having plans is one thing, but actually doing anything is something else. So we shall see, I would love to return there and see the baori in all its glory !
Thanks for stopping by my blog, I really appreciate all these comments !
Dear Kevin,Thanks for writing a blog with photos of this historic monument. It is certainly frustrating to see that nothing so far has been done about restoring this unique example of water conservation. I visited this site in 2004 and we made a documentary on about 10 different water harvesting structures of some what same stature to understand the diversity and distribution of these wells and perception of local community about conservation of this rich tradition. I mean we think that it is rich tradition. The locals have long deserted their home towns and left for cities in search of better income opportunities. Anyway, coming to the action points, we would like to submit this site to World Monument Fund for restoration. Would be great if we remain in touch so that we can leverage our network of contacts to mobilize resources and expertise necessary for the task on hand.
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We visited today 4th January 2019. Full restoration is now underway. I am emailing some photos to Kevin and he may wish to post them. Well done ASI!
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This is brilliant news !! Thanks for the update Rob, and yes, I would like to post an update with your photos if that is ok