Poetry in stone

- October 12, 2022
| By : Rohan Chauhan |

Stepwells have a charm of their own – precise geometrical design, the cool factor and the reminder of past glory. Rajon ki Baoli is truly Mehrauli’s hidden gem

Rajon ki Baoli is a stepwell in Delhi’s Mehrauli Archaeological Park that dates back to 1506 AD. It comes into sight as one comes closer, as three levels are fully below street level. Under the thunderous rainfall in Delhi, the cold stone edifice was vibrant yet quiet.

The casual visitor would presume it is a stepwell for Rajas (kings), but the name could be derived from rajbir (raj mistri or mason)—as masons moved permanently into the vacant mosque in the early 20th century.

As a vestige of the final pre-Mughal dynasty, the Lodhis, it occupies its unique niche among Delhi’s monuments. It is said to have been constructed by Daulat Khan during the reign of Sikander Lodhi and was utilised for a while by masons. “Pluralised’ is the nomenclature used for the structure, because most of the building is underground. Above ground, just the uppermost floor is visible.

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The structure features 12 pillared verandahs with north Indian-style arches. As water is stored in the baoli, the building keeps cool even during the hot summer days of Delhi. Storing water, of course, was the impetus for its construction.

A mosque and a tomb are included in the enclosure of Rajon ki Baoli. The stepwell’s water is clear enough to look through, and just beyond the tomb, a flock of pigeons are perched on the trees around the monument, enjoying the intrinsic beauty of Indian heritage. The baoli is filled with water above the second story and is inaccessible to visitors.

The archeological monument has a poetic appeal to it that remains undiscovered by the majority of Delhi-ites. The historical monument is said to be Delhi’s hidden gem and has been overshadowed by other monuments like Qutub Minar, Lodhi Garden, Sunder Nursery and many more. However, the guard tells that slowly and steadily, its popularity is growing.

There is only one security guard guarding the place. He was enjoying the rain while talking to his family over the phone.

AGEING GRACEFULLY: A beautiful dome in the middle of the heritage site

STRANDED: A security guard looking for shelter while on duty at the Baoli

ROYAL INDULGENCE: Rajon ki baoli, fit for a king but named after masons

PRETTY PERCH: Birds resting on the rooftop that is closed for visitors

WET LOOK: After hour of rains, the sun finally shines bright

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