India

Katan Baori Step Well – Coming Back From The Brink

We often read in the media of how an ancient building of historical importance has been swept aside by developers, or left to decay without any efforts made to reverse that process. Thankfully, every once in a while there is a good news story to buck that trend.

A couple of years ago I made a day trip out from Jodhpur to visit the small town of Osian. Here there are a number of really interesting heritage structures to explore, such as the Southern Group of Temples, the Sachiya Mata Temple, and the Mahavira Jain Temple.

One structure that is easily missed in Osian is the Katan Baori, sometimes known locally as Katan Bavdi. On my visit to this stepped well in 2017 I was astonished by the poor state of the structure; vegetation (including trees) were growing out from cracks in the fabric of the building, and much of the masonry was crumbling and falling down. This made any recent exploration of the structure quite a dangerous affair, you can read all about my experience here.

My blog post also lamented at just how and why such a building was being abandoned like this. Structurally it’s hugely impressive, and would clearly attract more visitors to the small town if some efforts were made to restore it, which has to be a good thing for the local economy.

So here comes the good news. I has contacted a couple of weeks ago by Robert Sneyd who had just visited Katan Baori and was able to report that renovation and restoration of the well has actually started, I presume by the A.S.I. I’ve searched to try and find more details on the project, but failed to find anything. Robert was kind enough to send me a few photos showing the work in progress.

Robert also added a little more detail on how to locate the well in Osian, although one imagines once the work is completed it will be made a more visible/accessible monument :

Location. Search on Google maps for ‘Katan Bavdi, Osiyan’. On Google maps it is labelled ‘Katan Bavdi’ at 130m southwest of the 90 degree bend on Road (highway) 61.

It can been seen from space on the Google maps satellite image as can the sandy pedestrian approach from the East.

Park in the scruffy sandy tree lined car park behind stalls just where car access to Osiyan runs out. Behind the car park (west) is a small sandstone shrine (20m)  and behind it again (another 20m)  is the step well. NB the Step Well is not visible from the car park – persist…

Hopefully soon the work will be completed, and perhaps anyone visiting the well in future can send me some photographs of the newly restored monument.

My thanks goes to Robert Sneyd for taking the time to contact and sending me these photos.


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