A step in time

Print edition : November 11, 2016

At Gandhak ki baoli in Mehrauli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Steps leading to Agrasen ki baoli reveal its magnitude and grandeur. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

At a baoli in Mehrauli, the entrance is marked by an archway. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

In the ruins of Mehrauli, an archway that leads to Rajon ki baoli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

The view from the inside of a baoli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

A colonnaded arcade on the top tier of Rajon ki baoli in Mehrauli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Arches on the steps leading to the well in Agrasen ki baoli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

A 'dalan', or colonnaded verandah, in Rajon ki baoli. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Mehrab in Mehrauli. Baolis served as centres of prayer, meditation and interaction. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Rajon ki baoli, a view from the top. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Calligraphy medallions in the Rajon ki baoli complex. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

Deep inside a baoli. The depth and design of these baolis, all of which are in disrepair, were eminently suited to prevent evaporation in the searing summer heat of the northern plains. Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM

The baolis, or stepwells, of Delhi were built by its early rulers as secular structures that drew water from the ground in the dry season and harvested rain water during the monsoon for use by the community at large. Text and photographs
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