चाँद बावड़ी( Chand Baori )
Chand Baori is a stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It extends approximately 30m (100ft) into the ground, making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
Chand Baori is said to be named after a local ruler of Nikumbh dynasty called Raja Chanda. However, no epigraphic evidence has been found regarding the construction of the Chand Baori or the adjoining Harshat Mata Temple. Based on similarities in style and carvings with the terraced temples of Paranagar and Mandore, the Baori can be dated to the 8th-9th century. It was likely constructed before the temple. According to Morna Livingston in Steps to Water: The Ancient Stepwells of India, Chand Baori is one of the few stepwells that has "two classical periods of water building in a single setting".
The oldest parts of the step-well date from the 8th century onwards. An upper palace building was added to the site, which is viewed from the tabulated arches used by the Chauhan rulers. Adjoining the baori is the architecturally splendid and sculpturally beautiful Harshat Mata Temple, which was built between the 7th-8th century, but was destroyed and damaged by Mahmud Ghazni. Many of its pillars, columns, statues now lie scattered. The Mughals also destroyed the Baori interior sculptures. Today, there are remains of old sculptures and carvings, which were suggested to be in the temple or in the various rooms. The nearby temple of Harshat Mata, goddess of joy, was a pilgrimage site and formed a complex together alongside the well.
Many of these stepwells, including Chand Baori, served multiple purposes alongside drawing water and playing a significant role in religious or ceremonial activities. Pilgrims are said to have found comfort in quenching their thirst and finding a resting spot at the steps of Chand Baori after their long travels. This unique form of underground well-architecture remains constant from the 7th century in the existing monument. Excavated stones of the temple are now kept by the Archaeological Survey of India in the arcades of the well. Chand Baori is a significant architectural site in western India.
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