When in India: Abhaneri Village

On my way to Agra coming from Jaipur, I dropped by the small village of Abhaneri to visit a century-old structure that's beyond amazing.
This is called Chand Baori, a water well constructed in the 9th century during the Nikumbh dynasty by King Chanda. As you can see, it isn't like the modern-day well where you get water from a small hole. Rather, it's a gigantic deep well with 3,500 steps and 13 storeys, an architecture that you can't imagine how it was done in the absence of technology before.
From afar, it looks like a maze surrounded by symmetrical stairs. It's so unique that some Hollywood movies featured this place already. If you've seen the movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, you might have recognized that the prison escape scene was shut here. A few other mainstream movies with the Chand Baori include: The Fall, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and local Indian movies Bhoomi and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
On one side, there’s a 3-storey pavilion that was used as a resting area by the Indian royalty. With such humidity in India especially during summer, the bottom part of Chand Baori is said to be a bit cooler than the ground temperature. The pavilion consists of beautifully carved jharokhas (overhanging balconies), pillared galleries, and other sculptures.
Right next to the Chand Baori are ruins of another ancient structure. This is a temple called the Harshat Mata Temple, built between the 7th and 8th century.
Unfortunately, it was hugely damaged during the war. Some pillars tried to get renovated, but the entire temple isn't completely repaired.
While it’s mostly rubble, the surrounding seems relaxing with the spread of lush green. You can simply sit for a while and enjoy the view.

How to get there

It’s located in the district of Dausa, Abhaneri village, Rajasthan, around 95 km from Jaipur and on the way if cruising the Jaipur-Agra highway. Public transportation may be tricky since there’s no direct bus to get there. But the best way is that from Jaipur, ride a bus to Sikandra for INR 20 (USD 0.30) and then get a taxi to Abhaneri for around INR 250 (USD 4). Meanwhile, if you’re on a Golden Triangle package tour, note that it isn’t usually part of the tour. You can request the driver or the tour organizer to drop by the village. An hour or less is enough to cover the area.
There’s no entrance fee to the Chand Baori and Harshat Mata Temple. Neither is required to get a tour guide among the freelancers there. It's really up to you if you want to get one.



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