Located down a quiet narrow lane just off Hailey Road in New Delhi, Agrasen Ki Baoli is one of the many historic buildings that existed on the site of the new city.
The current structure we see today was built in the 14th century by the Agarwal community, but the original baoli was reputably built by King Agrasen during the Mahabharat epic period.
The Baoli consists of a large open circular well at the back with a smaller square covered well accessed down a flight of 108 steps. These steps would have been used for sitting out during the heat of the day. There are three levels from the top of the stairs to the bottom, each level is lined with arched niches which would have provided further shelter from the sun.
You can find step-wells throughout India, one of my pet projects is to try and visit as many as I can whenever I travel to the country. The earliest forms of step-well go as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation in places like Dholavira (on my list, yet to be visited!), but there are many fantastic examples, especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat. If this sparks an interest, I strongly recommend you look into places like Chand Baoli, Rani Ki Vav, Toorji Ka Jhalra, Adalajand Dada Hari Ni Vav.
From the photographs you could be lead to believe I was the only person there, but that would be far from the truth. Agrasen Ki Baoli has become popularised in recent years, being a famous location for a number of well-known blockbuster Bollywood films (most recently, the film “PK” in 2017). And its purpose as a welcome sanctuary from the heat of the day (and a great place to hang out) still remains true today, so many people flock here – particularly at weekends.
If you prefer a quieter experience away from the crowds, I suggest visiting in the early morning on a weekday. I on the other hand was here mid afternoon on a Sunday, probably the worst time to visit for photography 🙂
There is a small mosque attached to the Baoli by the entrance, this is believed to be a later construction.
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