Abhaneri – A hidden jewel near Jaipur

I stumbled upon this jewel while researching for Bhangarh Fort. I was rather excited by how close this place was to the highway taking us from Agra to Jaipur. As you read in my Bhangarh blog things did not go as originally planned and as a result, I did a breakaway-from-family day trip to Bhangarh and Abhaneri – A hidden jewel near Jaipur.

The people originally named it Abha Nagri, which means the city of brightness. The current name Abhaneri is a distorted version of the original.

Step wells or ‘baoris’ is a unique concept within India. Abhaneri is known for its ‘baoris‘. Centuries ago, natives built these step wells in these arid region to provide for water throughout the year. Let me list down the must experience when in Abhaneri – A hidden jewel near Jaipur.

1) Abhaneri’s most popular stepwell – Chand Baori

Among the step wells of Abhaneri, this is the most known. Chand Baori is probably one of India’s deepest and largest step wells built over a thousand years ago.

Chand Baori of Abhaneri

Built during the 8th and 9th centuries, this gorgeous structure has 3,500 narrow steps in perfect symmetry.

The gorgeous Chand Baori in the hidden jewel near Jaipur – Abhaneri

The steps of Chand Baori – up close

It is a great example of geometry excellence of that era. Three flight of stairs descending into the earth with a palace on one side. The flight of stairs (13 storeys deep) and the palace are arranged in a square pattern and the water well lies at the center bottom. The royals used the palace at the bottom of the Baori to stay cool during the hot summers.

The subterranean palace at the Chand Baori

There is a large courtyard all around the stepwell.

Huge number of relics from Chand Baori and Harshat Mata temples are placed in these corridors

The corridor around Chand Baori hosting relics from the Baori and Harshat Mata temple

Intricately carved sandstone artifacts and idols dating as far back as 10th century are housed in the covered areas around the courtyard.  I was told that some of them have been shifted from the premises of Harshat Mata temple.

Posing with ancient relics

One of the intricate sculpture pieces from the Baori and Harshat Mata temple

Public is not allowed entry to the step well as the steps are rather slippery. Anyway, I wouldn’t try it with kids in tow. I enjoyed the photography sessions from all around the baori. We had reached post lunch and it was extremely hot. The kids took solace in the shade of the corridor and enjoyed exploring the relics.

Posing at Chand Baori

2) Harshat Mata Temple

Another popular place to visit in this hidden jewel near Jaipur – Abhaneri, is the 8th century temple of Harshat Mata.

The ancient Harshat Mata temple in Abhaneri

Located opposite the colossal step well, it was a ritual to wash hands and feet here before visiting the temple. Harshat Mata is considered the goddess of joy and happiness. As per the beliefs, the goddess is always cheerful and imparts her glow and brightness (abha) to the whole village.

Entrance to Harshat Mata temple in Abhaneri – A hidden jewel near Jaipur

Substantially destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni in the 10th century, the remains of the temple still boast of architectural and sculptural splendor. Many of its pillars, columns, statues now lie scattered in the temple courtyard and in the corridors of the Chand Baori.

The intricate carving and sculpture at Harshat Mata temple

The beautiful 8th century temple of Harshat Mata which was destroyed and damaged by Mahmud Ghazni in the 10th century

The temple is on a raised platform with unrestricted views of nearby areas.

3) A village of folk dances

While Abhaneri is considered a ruin village, locals believe that the blessings of Harshat Mata has helped them survive. This village is known for various Rajasthani folk dances which include Ghoomar, Kalbelia and Bhawai. Ghoomar is a dance of the Bhil tribe while Kalbelia is a dance performed by the women of Kalbelia tribe, who make their living by catching snakes and selling their venom. On the other hand, Bhawai is a dance performed as a ritual before Amba Mata or Mother Earth.

One of the huts in Abhaneri village

Bylanes of the hidden jewel near Jaipur – Abhaneri

The children requesting to be clicked

In conclusion, Abhaneri, a hidden jewel near Jaipur, boasts of a glorious past. Therefore, it attracts tourists from across the world. I would highly recommend a stopover here if you are a photography enthusiast or love the Indian heritage.

Also, every year Tourism Department of Rajasthan organizes a three day Abhaneri Festival in the month of Nov- Dec to promote heritage tourism. You can expect a 3-day extravaganza of music and performances by local artisans, camel cart rides and other fun activities.

Things you may want to know before the travel (Travel tips)

  • You can visit Abhaneri as a day trip from Jaipur (95 kms in distance). It takes about 2 hours to reach here
  • At a leisurely pace, you will take about 1 – 1.5 hours to see Chand Baori and Harshat Mata temple
  • There is no entrance fee to either monument
  • You should be equipped with good walking shoes, sun hat and sunscreen to avoid the harsh sun
  • Carry enough water and keep yourself hydrated
  • You can buy water and snacks from small shops at the entrance. Also gives opportunity to interact with locals !
  • There is a washroom facility in the premise of the baori. Just beware of monkeys !
  • Abhaneri can be combined with a visit to Bhangarh fort

Hidden Jewel Near Jaipur – Abhaneri

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now - a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

admin

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now - a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

42 Responses

  1. Verity says:

    The carving is so intricate and beautiful!

  2. Travel Tips says:

    Jaipur is really a must. Eventhough I think India has plenty of hiddend gems. Each single corner has its story to tell

  3. I like the patterns of the stairs and as you call it geometry excellence. Wish I can get there with my camera. Architecture photography is not my main thing, but these I would definitely like to try.

  4. Louiela Ann Analista says:

    These are really impressive… the step well of Chand Baori is one of a kind,,, must-see,,
    As you mentioned, the steps are deep and slippery… I’m curious, how deep is the water/well are….

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much. Chand Baori is 13 storey deep (about 100ft) before you hit the water. The depth below the water is not documented. Apparently, the temperature near the water is 5-6 degrees Celsius cooler than on top !

  5. neha says:

    I always wonder why I didn’t visit here when I was in Jaipur last year. Nevertheless, I have another trip lined up and this time around, I will definitely visit here. Since this step well is one of it’s kind in India I guess.

    • admin says:

      It was the same with me Neha. I was so keen on Bhangarh last time but was not aware of Abhaneri. This time I could do both. All happens for the good 😉

  6. Ambuj Saxena says:

    Your kids are your superstars. No matter how well you write, they capture my attention.
    Chand baori part was really interesting and would love to go to Jaipur again.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Ambuj. They really are superstars and my pillars of strength too ! Chand Baori was quite unique and I now am looking at visiting Adalaj Vav near Ahmedabad !

  7. Mario says:

    Wow, this place looks amazing and well-conserved. I’m quite impressed by the architectonical precision the whole site was built… definitely worth a visit 🙂

  8. Ann says:

    The architecture cannot be ignored. I learned something about Jaipur and the hidden jewel..looks like a nice place to explore in the future..

  9. Amit says:

    The carvings look amazing, I love stumbling on hidden jems, it’s one of the best things about traveling. I haven’t traveled India yet but there must be so many hidden jems with its history

  10. Lee says:

    I was shocked that there is a place like this in India. Feels like Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I should def need to see this soon

  11. Carlo Madrid says:

    This is an excellent post! Will surely bookmark this!

  12. Marge says:

    If you didn’t say it was meant to hold water, I wouldn’t think of it that way. The entire structure looks impressive and it really makes me wonder how they looked with water and I want to know also how it works. I wish there is some kind of movie that I could watch to depict this. The place looks amazing and I do want to visit it.

  13. Neil Alvin says:

    This place will surely be part of my must visit places in the world. Thank you for sharing the hidden jewels near Jaipur.

  14. Swayam says:

    Honestly, I did not read your text. I just looked at the face of your kids. If they felt happy and curious after visiting Abhaneri, then I would say that this quaint destination has done its job. Next time when passing through Delhi, please give me a call.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Swayam. You have been an absolute supporter of my blogs. I surely will call you next time I am in Delhi. This time it was very hectic with family members visiting for the first time

  15. Ami says:

    Yep, this was what we missed last time. Glad you managed it this time. Aarohi looks like a Cow girl 🙂 It sure is a fascinating place and I can see why you missed me 🙂

  16. Chand Baori looks really exquisite. Abhaneri is indeed a hidden gem with this kind of a treasure. Stepwells always fascinate me and this one reminds me of the Adalaj stepwell near Ahmedabad. The architecture of the place is really beautiful. Lovely pictures capture the enchanting beauty so nicely.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Sandy and Vyjay. You are right. Adalaj stepwell with its hauntingly sad story is on my list now ! So glad you liked the pictures and the post.

  17. Sapna says:

    I didn’t get time to visit Abhaneri during my Bhangarh trip due to different reasons. Your post reminded me to go there next time I am in that direction. Very useful post with good tips.

  18. Steffi says:

    Wish I had made it here when I was in Jaipur….definitely on the bucketlist for my next India visit!!! Love all your great photos!

  19. Suruchi says:

    I wonder why we missed Abhaneri the hidden jewel near Jaipur during our last trip. It looks amazing, and esp the Chand Baori is huge. It is a perfect example of centuries-old architecture knowledge and skills. Lovely pictures and it is great you didn’t try climbing down those narrow steps.

    • admin says:

      Glad you liked the post Suruchi and you do visit Abhaneri next time you are in the vicinity. It is close to the Sariska National Park as well. Chand Baori is colossal and extremely beautiful, you will love it

  20. Swayam says:

    Posting one more comment here ( have already done once before). Baolis or stepwells were the mediavel equivalents of the modern day Starbucks. The is one baoli just 500 metres from my house in Dwarka, Delhi.

  21. Carlo Madrid says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard about this place and it looks lovely. Amazing photos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *