November 21st, 2012
I'd never heard of a 'stepwell' before reading about the one at Chand Baori in India.
Chand Baori is the oldest stepwell in Rajasthan, having been constructed in the 8th-9th centuries A.D. It is 19.5 meters, or roughly 64 feet, deep. The overwhelming majority of its surface area consists of steps – thousands of steps – all of which lead down to the water table, turning weekly water-gathering trips by local families into a communal spectacle, a social event framed by this extraordinary act of excavation and architecture.
'Extraordinary' is absolutely the word for it: