Abhaneri Step-Well: Architectural Wonder of 8th century

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Abhaneri – A Small Village near Jaipur, Rajasthan

Abhaneri is a small village in Rajasthan near Jaipur, while driving on National Highway 11A towards Agra, after crossing Dausa at Sikandara take a left turn on a State Highway 25 to Bandikui, then turn right at Gular Chauraha  for Abhaneri, total distance from Jaipur is 96 Kms, upon entering into the Abhaneri, first visible structure is a ruins of a Hindu temple of Goddess Harshat Mata built in 7-8th century AD, considered to be Goddess of Joy and Happiness, it is built on a double platform, on the walls are the statues & sculptures of Gods and Goddesses which depict images from daily life, built by King Chand, ruins of the temple still boasts the architectural and sculptural richness of medieval India, this city was known as “Abha Nagari“.
The Harshad Mata Temple built around 7-8 century AD
The Harshat Mata Temple built around 7-8 century AD
The walls of the temple carved with images and sculptures of Gods and Goddesses depicting images from daily life
The walls of the temple carved with images and sculptures of Gods and Goddesses depicting images from daily life

Chand Baori, A Step-Well

Just next to the temple is a enclosed rectangular courtyard type of structure, upon entering one reaches a Jharokha and coming down stairs on left one can see, the Baori (Step-Well)  on right, something which is unique to India, it is a water reservoir which not only has water also respite from heat in dry summers it is about 64 ft deep narrowing towards the bottom criss-crossing steps provided with double flight of steps on three sides reach the the water surface, it is one of the deepest and the largest step-well in India, the geometrical pattern of stairs gives the different magical images of the stairs, the light and shadow makes one spell bound, the stairs are on the three sides while on the one  side are the three storied pavilion with beautiful carved jharokhas, the galleries supported on Pillars and two projecting balconies enshrining beautiful sculptures. This surrounding area is semi desert, shrubs and small trees mainly the Kikar and Ber (Ber Berry), Amla (Goose berry) are found, there are only two seasonal rivers Banganga and Morle, agriculture is totally dependent on rains and ground water. Chand Raja was from the Gujara Pratihara clan claiming to be the descendant of Lord Ram’s younger brother Laxman, they were at their peak during 6-10th century AD, almost North of India, founder of this dynasty was Raja Hari Chandra and once dominated the Rajasthan, their capital city was Mandore near Jodhpur, during this period open pavilion temples were built the best examples are the temples are at Khajuraho in Madhya Paradesh and Osian in Rajasthan.
The beautiful arched hallway in front of the step-well adds to the beauty of Abhaneri Step-Well
The beautiful arched hallway in front of the step-well adds to the beauty of Abhaneri Step-Well
The front view of the Abhaneri Step-Well, A Marvelous piece of Architecture
[quote]The front view of the Abhaneri Step-Well, A Marvelous piece of Architecture[/quote] Full view of the stairs of the Abhaneri Step-Well, which gives a sense of magical touch
Full view of the stairs of the Abhaneri Step-Well, which gives a sense of magical touch
A closer look on the double flight stairs of the Abhaneri Step-Well
A closer look on the double flight stairs of the Abhaneri Step-Well
The magical look of the stairs in the Step-Well, Only good architecture can explain that!
The magical look of the stairs in the Step-Well

 

Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the travel trade since 1980, Hes has worked in India and abroad. A boxer, a Rifle Shooter and a Para Jumper in his college days, as a Boy Scout and NCC cadet, attended camps at many places which developed his interest in traveling and to explore new places, trekking and photography, loves driving to adventurous places , owns a business (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
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Kawariyas , Devoties of Lord Shiva

Every year in the Shrawan month of the Hindu calender ( July, August ) more then 10 lakh ( one million ) number increasing every year, devotees from various part of North and Central India gathers at Haridwar and Gangotri to to take holy water of river Ganges, carry  it on their shoulders walk to their respective Lord Shiva temple in their city or village and pour it on Shiva Lingam.

The prepration is done much before the Kawariayas leave from their home by observing strict disipline of simple vegetarian food , sleeping on floor and away from induldging sex ,tabaco and alcohol, wearing saffron colour cloths,  they leave from home at least 7 -10 days before Shivaratri after performing the pooja for Haridwar or Gangotri by any means of transport , again after performing the pooja they fill their small copper or brass urns , hang it on a decorated  bamboo stick , wearaing saffron cloths bare foot or non leather sandals or shoes start their return journey back home trekking up to 600 – 700 kms to reach their respective destinations before the Shravan Shiva Ratri . these devotees of Lord Shiva are as young as toddlers with mothers and as old as one can walk long distance I have seen 80 years old covering distance of more than 300 kms with young devotees even crippled , lame and blinds undertaking this journey chanting BOL BUM. One wonders is it just faith that makes them complete such a long journey on foot or there is some divine power which makes them perform to do.

There are kawariyas who carry the Ganga water themself upto their destination , there are another set of Kawariyas who carry it as a relay race a team of devoties accompany in a truck and turn by turn each one carries, walk or run with the Ganga water while others rest and wait for their turn in the vehicle these are called the Dakiyas or the Postmen.

Legend is when the churning of Sea took place ( Samundra Manthan) ambrosia (amrit ) and poison (vish) surfaced. No one wanted to have poison. Yet consuming poison was crucial as it would have caused  destruction had it touched the earth. Lord Shiva drank the poison but kept it holding in his throat which caused tremendous heat in his body. To pacify that heat Gangajal was poured over Lord Shiva.

It is not only a yearly ritual for the Kawariyas to carry  the holy water of Ganges but villagers and people on the way take it as their religious duty to feed ,  medical help , offering foot massage, arranging for night stay and rest to Lord Shiva devotees, large number of camps are erected on highways  from Haridwar to Delhi , Jaipur , Alwar, Agra, and Haridwar to Sahranpur, Ambala , Panipat, Rohtak , the main highway Haridwar to Delhi NH8 is closed for traffic for 4-7 days due to heavy rush of walking Kawariyas back home .

There are similar rituals at Deoghar in Jharkhand state , the devotees over 7-8 million in number bringing holy river Ganga  water from various places and pour it over the Shiva lingam at Baidyanath Dham Deoghar

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