A Nomad's Diary - travel tales

Visiting the Amazing Abhaneri which houses the oldest stepwell of Rajasthan!

The beautiful Chand Baori

Did you know that a crucial scene from the famous Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises was shot here? Of course, the ace Hollywood writer & director Christopher Nolan was here along with his entire unit. For the same scene, the handsome Christian Bale was also present. Apart from this Shahrukh Khan starer, Paheli and Akshay Kumar’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa were also shot here. Oh yes, see we got you curious about this place and the oldest stepwell of Rajasthan. Well, we are talking about Chand Baori in Abhaneri village of Rajasthan.

Reaching Abhaneri

Abhaneri is a village in Dausa district of Rajasthan. It is barely 95 km. from Jaipur while it takes approximately 4 hrs. 30 minutes to reach from Gurgaon. Though it is located on the route between Jaipur & Agra it is difficult to navigate correctly through the smaller lanes as one is about to reach this quaint little town. Even the nearby villagers don’t exactly know the route or maybe they call it with other names so they aren’t much of a help for reaching Abhaneri.

Chand Baori – The Deepest Stepwell in Rajasthan

Chand Baori, Abhaneri
Chand Baori, Abhaneri

As the name suggests, Chand Baori is named after Raja Chanda, one of the rulers of this region from the bygone era. The inception of this stepwell per se is supposed to be in the 8th or 9 century. It is undoubtedly one of the prettiest step-wells we have seen. While the arch architecture in upper hallways etc. suggest that these were added by Mughals. Chand Baori, Abhaneri has 13 stories (about 100ft. below the ground level) with 3500 narrow steps which can drive you dizzy while going downstairs for sure. The precise symmetry in which it is built and the way it has been designed to address water scarcity back then sends out a strong message to the world about India’s glorious past and the bountiful knowledge that we had.

Entrance hallway of  Abhaneri Stepwell
Entrance hallway of Abhaneri Stepwell

It was used not only as a water storage reservoir but also many community rituals & gatherings used to happen here. Even the Rajput royals had a pavilion constructed on one of the sides of this Abhaneri stepwell to be used when they visited here. Today visitors can see few broken pieces of Chand baori kept in the ground level hallway. Apart from this, the water in this baori has turned light green in colour due to algae deposition. By Government orders, going to the bottom floors is restricted and certainly diving in it too is prohibited. In some ways, this baori reminds us of Toorji ka Jhalra which is a stepwell in Jodhpur.

Some beautiful sculpture pieces of Goddess in Chand Baori
Some beautiful sculpture pieces of Goddess in Chand Baori

Is Chand Baori Haunted Story True?

We visited Chand Baori, Abhaneri in the daytime and stayed till the closing time. However, we didn’t find anything spooky about the place. But there are few hearsays that come to your ears when one visits the place. Well, we don’t believe that this place is haunted.

A little about Abhaneri

Harshad Mata Temple entrance with Shivling at Abaneri
Harshad Mata Temple entrance with Shivling at Abaneri

Abhaneri as it is called now was once named ‘Abha Nagari’ meaning the City of Brightness. It was earliest known to be ruled by Chahamanas of Shakambhari, then by Muhammad Ghazni and then Marathas after which it was added in the princely state of Jaipur.

Other Attractions of Abaneri

Near to Chaand Baori of Abaneri is the Hasrshat Mata Temple. This temple we feel is highly underrated. The reason for this is that the temple has so many intricate. The best part about it is that these carvings and the temple itself are quite well preserved. Some sculptures from this temple have also been taken and preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is dedicated to Harshat Mata and has been modified in due course of time architecturally.

Harshad Mata Temple near Chand baori
Harshad Mata Temple near Chand baori

Abaneri Festival 2021

The local people celebrate this Abhaneri or Abaneri festival for a duration of 3 days at the beginning of Sharat Navratra before Dussehra and Diwali which are key Hindu festivals. It is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Department every year. During this festival time, tourists from all across the world come to be a part of this religious & cultural fest. One can see locals performing in different dance styles like Kachchhi Ghori, Kalbeliya, Ghoomar & more. At this time of year, Chand Baori is open to the public and a diving competition is also held there. Among other popular attractions of this festival are puppetry, lac bangle making, shopping and more. This year it is supposed to commence around 7th October.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Abhaneri for a day trip from Jaipur is a superb idea. It is one of the offbeat destinations in fact within Rajasthan. Even from Gurgaon or Delhi, it can be clubbed with Bhangarh Fort visit on a weekend. As restaurants are not very few at this place so it is advisable to carry food from the hotel or the home itself. Have you visited this Chand Baori, Abhaneri village before? How was your experience do share in the comment section below?

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