Musings around Stepwells – I

A cold breeze, the chirping of the birds, the flapping of their wings, occasional voices coming from the passersby, all echo from the empty well that runs deep and dry. With the backdrop of the fort, the mountains and the lush green farms coupled with the loud silence, the clock stops and one easily slips into a reverie.

The journey downward begins with a mesmerizing view of a series of steps disappearing into the darkness towards the end. The grandeur of the arched gateways beautifully painted white on yellow stand testimony to a time when the journey to the water was celebrated and considered to be as sacred as the water itself.

Each arched gateway is a pointer, marking the entry into a world turned upside down as one detaches from the ground. It is a slow transition, and indeed a very dramatic one.

Ambiguous, mysterious and exciting!

From each step there is a different view framed through the archways, each breathtaking in its own way. One can’t help but imagine the place lit up at night with the oil lamps placed in the big and small niches on the walls and the arched gateways.

As one takes a step forward towards the last bit of transition, the sounds coming from above fade. Peace is the only thing that resides here.

But the journey does not end here; a small spiral staircase leads one further down.

Down into the well which was once full of water, life and unmatched beauty…

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