Holiday doesn’t necessarily mean going to a hill station or at a beach site. Sometimes you travel to experience the true essence of a new place. And such is what the fascinating step well – Chand Baori located at Abhaneri, Rajasthan has to offer.
Located at a distance of 230 kms from New Delhi and 95 kms from Jaipur, Abhaneri is a small rural village of Dausa District in Rajasthan. And it is popular for an ancient step well called Chand Baori and Harshat Mata Temple.
Entry Fee: No Charges!
The town of Abhaneri was established in the 8th Century by King Chand and it was during the same time that ‘Chand Baori’, a step well was constructed to store rain water. King Chand belonged to the Nikumbha Dynasty and he was a devotee of Harshat Mata, the goddess of Joy, whose temple is located nearby to the step well.
About Dausa: Dausa is a district in Rajasthan but an even important political place due to the birthplace of freedom fighters like Tikaram Paliwal and Ram Karan Joshi among many others who belonged to this little town.
The step well is mammoth in size and an amazing art of architecture. Chand Baori consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories and extends to almost 30 metres (100 ft) into the ground making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
The step-well served the purpose of storing water for the village and also used as an entertainment spot for the royals as there are resting rooms and a pavilion on one side of the step well.
Even today the temperature of the bottom area is 5-6 degrees cooler than the rest of the step well.
There are series of balconies and corridor’s making it a perfect location for a photoshoot and Movies (already featured in ‘The Fall’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and also in a song from ‘Paheli’).
With geometrical complexity of the design, the step well is indeed a mystical marvel!
Harshat Mata Temple
Dedicated to the goddess of Joy (Harsh means ‘Joy’), the temple is located just a few meters away from Chand-Baori.
It is believed to have been constructed during the rule of Mughal and Turkish invaders in order to divide the religious beliefs. For the people of Abhaneri and surrounding villages, the Temple still holds true in keeping peace and faith among people, no matter what religion they belong to and they come here to seek her blessings.
The temples carving remind of the ones we see of the Khajuraho Temple, although not that intimate.
Interestingly the temple has been destroyed a couple of times but was rebuilt again by stacking up boulders by the villagers themselves.
What Else to Do: Walk up to the nearby village market and try your hands on some pottery making!
Stay Options at Abhaneri
Abhaneri is a stopover place and besides the following 2 there are no budget stay options. So it is recommended that you stay at Jaipur or travel to Sariska, that has plenty of accommodation choices.
Umaid Lake Palace, Dausa
Staying at Umaid Lake Palace is a perfect way to indulge in local delicacies prepared by the chef and seeing the rural life in action.
Spread across 20 acres of verdant land, it is an organic retreat having its own farmland that produces fresh organic vegetables, pulses & even herbs, making the food offered at the retreat more delectable. You can watch villagers working on the farm and can even pick up your own veggies! There are cooking classes offered along with other activities like cycle polo, village walks, bird watching and trips to the nearby sand dunes.
Abhaneri Village Safari Camp, Village Abhaneri:
Offering traditional stay in luxury tents and cottages, this camp offers a warm & rustic environment to make you feel relaxed amidst village life.
With corporate activities and interesting walks to nearby villages and cultural programmes, this camp is an ideal place to enjoy the simple life and unwind. It is especially recommended for those looking for some city getaway.
Try Kaddi-Kachoori, gatte ki sabzi and Tea served in traditional Kullads (Mud pots) and of-course the yummy Dal Batti Churma.
Best Season to Visit: October-March
Other Places to Visit Nearby
Mehandipur Balaji, Dausa: Located just 33 kms from Abhaneri, the Mehandipur Balaji Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman’s childhood phase of life (Bal Hanuman) and Lord Bhairav. But apart from the devotees coming here to seek blessings, there are people coming here for a different reason. The temple is quite popular for its ritualistic healing and exorcism of evil spirits and this attracts many pilgrims from Rajasthan and other cities. The shrine has miraculous powers to heal a person possessed with evil spirits. Not just that, visiting the temple brings you relief of any hard times you might be facing and brings good fortune.
Yet there is something strange about the place and the whole atmosphere. So even if you are not a believer of the unknown, visiting this temple will change your views. Even the Prasad (offerings) offered here (black coloured balls) is not to be consumed but need to be thrown into the fire! This helps to keep off the evil spirits, they say. People walk around in a daze and some in a semi-conscious state.
And yes remember not to carry back anything edible once you return back, even the water could carry an evil spirit and it is recommended that you do not look back to the temple once you exit.
- Bhangarh (63 Kms): The ‘Ghost Town’ of Bhangarh is located close by and is about 63 kms from Abhaneri and can easily be reached via NH11 or through MDR48 (41 kms).
- Kesroli (85 Kms): Kesroli is popular for its 14th-century fort located on top of a hill. Today the Hill Fort of Kesroli is part of the Neemrana Property. It has beautiful turrets, ramparts and arched verandahs and a stay here lets you live a heritage live, that the rulers once lived.
- Alwar (82 Kms): Alwar is perhaps the oldest of the Rajasthani kingdoms, forming part of the Matsya territories of Viratnagar in 1500 BC.Bala Qilla (Alwar fort) situated in the Aravali Hills is one of the best forts present in Rajasthan. It is said that it has never been invaded or conquered by any king. Just behind it is the Nikumbh Mahal. There are many small palaces in the city and an old museum with a collection of paintings, armours, and old weapons.Neelkanth temple is an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built between the 6th to the 9th century.
- Shekhawati – Mandawa, Nawalgarh (92 Kms): Far less visited but the region most popular for its extraordinary frescoes and painted havelis in Rajasthan. Such is the beauty of these havelis, that the region has earned the sobriquet ‘open art gallery of India’ title. Read More
Distance Guide to Abhaneri-Chand Baori
New Delhi to Abhaneri: 230 Kms via NH248A and RJ SH 25
Gurgaon to Abhaneri: 202 Kms via Alwar-Bhiwadi Road and RJ SH 25
Best Route: Daruhera -Alwar -Rajgarh-Bandi Kui-Abhaneri
Except for some construction underway, the road conditions are good offering you a smooth drive. Total Time: 3 Hours + –
Please Note: If you are driving from Delhi / Gurgaon, Google maps suggests a detour just after Moonpur and takes you via Rajgarh town. While this saves some kilo meters, it slows you down as you have to pass through the town roads. A better option would be to stick to the state highway 25, (stick to the right side of the fork at Moonpur) – this goes around Rajgarh Will be longer but faster.
Jaipur to Abhaneri: 95 Kms via NH11 on Jaipur-Agra
Best Route: Its right on your way to Agra, with only a slight detour of 10 minutes from the main highway!
Total Time: 2 hours
Nearest Airport: Jaipur & New Delhi
Nearest Railway Station: Dausa
Agra to Abhaneri: 165 Kms
Ajmer to Abhaneri: 223 Kms
Alwar to Abhaneri: 77 Kms
Gwalior to Abhaneri: 275 Kms