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Monuments

Stepwells of Delhi

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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
At Gandhak ki baoli in Mehrauli.
At Gandhak ki baoli in Mehrauli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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Steps leading to Agrasen ki baoli reveal its magnitude and grandeur.
Steps leading to Agrasen ki baoli reveal its magnitude and grandeur.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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At a baoli in Mehrauli, the entrance is marked by an archway.
At a baoli in Mehrauli, the entrance is marked by an archway.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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In the ruins of Mehrauli, an archway that leads to Rajon ki baoli.
In the ruins of Mehrauli, an archway that leads to Rajon ki baoli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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The view from the inside of a baoli.
The view from the inside of a baoli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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A colonnaded arcade on the top tier of Rajon ki baoli in Mehrauli.
A colonnaded arcade on the top tier of Rajon ki baoli in Mehrauli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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Arches on the steps leading to the well in Agrasen ki baoli.
Arches on the steps leading to the well in Agrasen ki baoli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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A  'dalan', or colonnaded verandah, in Rajon ki baoli.
A 'dalan', or colonnaded verandah, in Rajon ki baoli.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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Mehrab in Mehrauli. Baolis served as centres of prayer, meditation and interaction.
Mehrab in Mehrauli. Baolis served as centres of prayer, meditation and interaction.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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Rajon ki baoli, a view from the top.
Rajon ki baoli, a view from the top.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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Calligraphy medallions in the Rajon ki baoli complex.
Calligraphy medallions in the Rajon ki baoli complex.Photo: SUDHA MAHALINGAM
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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.
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
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