Situated in Hailey Road, at the centre of Central Delhi amidst the city’s modern architecture stands one of Delhi’s oldest monuments the Agrasen ki Baoli or also spelt as Ugrasen ki baoli. Delhi is full of ancient monuments and old heritage structures which stood against time. I am an ardent fan of anything old and ancient and I couldn’t miss a visit to Agrasen ki Baoli in Delhi. Delhi remains one of my favourite tourist places for that reason. A visit to Agrasen ki Baoli will at first make it hard to believe that amidst the hustle-bustle of the city such a place exists which feels absolutely other-worldly.
How to Reach Agrasen ki Baoli
I didn’t t have much idea about Agrasen Ki Baoli before my visit. Most of the time I do a fact check before visiting any historical monument. But Agrasen Ki Baoli was not in my initial itinerary. But while I was hanging out at Connaught place one of my friends suggested that I must visit since I am so near. Connaught place is just 2 km away from Hailey Road. If you hire an auto he will charge you Rs 50. It will take around 10 minutes to reach if there is no traffic.
The nearest metros are Janpath (Violet Line), Barakhamba (Blue Line), Rajiv Chowk ( Blue and Yellow Lines). The best I would suggest is to reach Connaught Place, grab a light breakfast and then take an auto to reach Agrasen Ki Baoli. In your, Delhi Itinerary keep your visit to Connaught Place, Janpath, Agrasen ki Baoli on the same day as all these places are close to each other.
Timings and Entry Fee
Entry to Agrasen ki Baoli is absolutely free and visiting hours are from 7 am to 6 pm. Photography and Videography are also free. It is also quite a popular place among photographers for a photo shoot.
The history behind Agrasen Ki Baoli.
What is Agrasen ki Baoli? The word “Baoli” means Step-well, they were used as a water reservoir. A stepwell is basically an underground constructed water storage system. The main aim is to cope with the availability of water during seasonal fluctuations.
Ancient India has on and off faced an acute scarcity of water due to many man-made or natural factors. So these storage systems were constructed to tackle that water shortage problem. Over the ages, many ruling dynasties and communities had built their own baolis and so these are found in many states across India. These baolis had different functionalities, some were used for drinking and various other domestic purposes.
It is said that Delhi used to have some 100 or more such step wells. Most of these are abandoned due to improved water storage facilities used nowadays. And most of them are in ruins. Now only a couple or few could be visited.
The architectural design shows the excellent craftsmanship of the people of ancient India. Archaeological Survey of India has been doing an excellent job restoring this ancient heritage of India.
Agrasen ki baoli in Delhi was constructed during the reign of Maharaja Ugrasen of Agroha and the so-called Agrasen Ki Baoli. Maharaja Ugrasen was the forefather of the rich Agarwal Community. The architectural design of the Baoli resembles those of the late Lodhi or the Tughlaq period.
It measures 60m North-South and 15 m wide along with the ground level. Built with rubble and dressed stones it is one of the finest baoli in Delhi. The prime feature of the baoli is the flight of steps that takes down to the stepwell situated in the north.
Both the sides of the steps are bounded by huge concrete walls that have series of arched corridors. There is a huge concrete notice just outside the gate of the Baoli where this important information about the baoli is given. I am sharing a picture of the same below.
Agrasen ki Baoli, now the 14th Century structure is a protected historical monument that comes under the Archaeological Survey of India. There is a total of 108 steps and you may find some similarities to the baolis built in some places of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The main purpose behind so many steps was for the people to walk into the well whenever the water level used to go down.
Some of the popular Baolis in Delhi are Rajon Ki Baoli, Gandhak Ki Baoli, Old Fort Baoli, Red Fort Baoli and the Baoli situated near Nizamuddin Dargah, Though I didn’t have time to visit all these places they are all on my bucket list now. The most popular baoli among tourist is probably the Agrasen ki Baoli. Rani ki Vav and the Modhera Step Well in Gujarat is also spectacular insight. Though I haven’t personally been there I have read a lot about them on the internet.
Is Agrasen ki Baoli haunted?
Well, there are so many stories that surround these baolis. There are innumerous tales that say people used to gather there for rituals or other celebrations. Even travellers used to take shelter. The arched corridors with water just a few feet away must have attracted many passersby. There were many reports of suicide and some tale say black magic was performed in the baoli so the water has something to do with the evil.
But this is nothing uncommon in India as most archaeological sites are associated with a dozen of haunted stories. Who knows what had happened back then. But once there you are definitely going to get an eerie feeling. The place is quite silent and the only sound you can hear is the flocks of pigeons flapping wings and flying in and out. They also provide a perfect frame for your camera. So keep your camera ready for that shot.
It was in the early days of March when at around 11 am when I had reached Agrasen Ki Baoli. The sun was not that harsh and I was so excited to visiting something so marvellous for the first time. Once there the hugeness of the baoli blew off my mind. The structure is incredible. I sat there for some time, it was quite pleasant and windy. As I was travelling solo I asked some fellow tourists to click me some pictures and people in Delhi are very kind.
Then I walked down the baoli counting the steps. Walking down the steps was really fun. While walking you can also access the walls and walk on the small passage in front of the arched corridors. Try to stay near the steps as it can make you feel nauseated. Also, the steps and the corridor Down beneath the Baoli is empty full of pigeon poop which somehow I found dirty.
You can cross that space and go down but finding it dirty I didn’t dare to. A time of one hour is enough to spend there. I saw some senior citizens finding it difficult to climb up the steps and the steps are quite narrow so it’s advisable to walk slowly.
So when in Delhi you cannot miss a visit to Agrasen ki Baoli and experience the beauty of a stepwell. However, you must keep in mind that this is an ancient heritage structure so do not litter here and there or put any kind of stray marks on the walls or floor of the monument. Also remain watchful as the foundations which is hundreds of years old may not be that stable as you can see from outside.
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