The Vanishing Stepwells of India - Book and Photo by Victoria Lautman
Some of the most stunning architectural structures in India are to be found below ground: these are its stepwells, ancient water stores.
Stepwells are unique to India and from around the 3rd century CE were built throughout the country,
particularly in the arid western regions. Excavated several stories underground
in orderto reach the water table, these cavernous spaces not only provided
water all year long but also fulfilled other functions;
they offered pilgrims and other traveler
s a respite from the heat,
and became places in which villagers could socialize.
Stepwell construction evolved so that, by the 11th century,
the wells were amazingly complex feats of architecture and engineering.
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