Like other small towns along the road to Ranthambore, Abhaneri had some small, very modest homes, local vendors along the streets, and cows lying everywhere.
The main reason for most people to visit this ancient city is its incredible stepwell, tucked away in this tiny town it’s not easy to find.
A Baori (or bawdi) is a stepwell, a unique idea conceived by early natives to function as a reservoir, very typical in Rajasthan’s arid parts to provide water year-round. Chand was named for King Chand (or Chanda), who ruled Abhaneri during the 8th and 9th centuries.
The Chand Baori is approximately 19.5 meters or nearly 64 feet deep. The square design has double flights of steps, almost 3,500 in total, on three sides. The north side is the entrance and had multiple stories with two huge balconies, a pavilion, and was filled with incredible sculptures. The green at the bottom is not grass, it is water.
Harshshad Mata Temple
Near the stepwell is a temple dedicated to Harshat Mata, the goddess of joy and happiness, who spread her glow and brightness. Brightness (abha) is where the name of the city Abhaneri came from.
The temple sits high on the rise overlooking the village and surrounding pastures. We found that several vessels surrounding the temple were filled with flowers and decomposing fruit, which in the sun attracted a HUGE numbers of bees – which kept us at a distance. Chuck had to stay back because he is allergic.
This stop along the road to Ranthambore was a nice break and well worth the visit. I could have sat and looked at the incredible architecture of the stepwell for hours.
The walkway around the stepwell is easy to navigate with very few steps (sorry you are not allowed to climb down to the water). Unfortunately, there is practically no shade on the accessible sides of the well, so sunscreen, a hat, and water are highly recommended.
The temple sat high on the rise and had a series of fairly steep steps. Some of the more senior members of our group took their time and slowly made their way to the top.
We also noticed that because of the number of people who inhabited the region over the centuries, and their various languages and dialects, nearly everything had multiple spellings