this place had been hanging somewhere in the top 5 positions of my travel wish list. been planning to go there for almost a year, that is since i saw the 15kb picture of the numerous steps of chandra baoli. the steps looked so graphic surely not like a piece of architecture but rather a drawing from escher's sketch book. the internet could not be of much help in throwing much light about the place or even it's location. all it said was Abhaneri is situated on the jaipur-agra highway around 60kms from jaipur. the confusion was that none of the maps i refered to had this name written on them. probably it's too small a place to be mentioned. anyways for me it made absolute sense to venture out on the jaipur-agra road and try finding this place. even people in jaipur were of no help. the name abhaneri sounded greek to them.
finally on a nice clear winter sunday morning i started on the agra road from jaipur, after around 30 odd kilometres some old gentleman in a filling station did confirm the existence of the place called abhaneri. the first ray of hope i could see. yes i am on the right track. the road was empty and wide. driving at the 5th gear was an easy game. the sun was rising and created hues of purple and mauve's all over, and a thin layer of fog could be seen on the adjoining mustard fields. after driving for around 80kms from the outskirts of jaipur i reached a place called sikandra crossed the toll booth over there and took the left turn from the chowk around 4.5kms ahead reached the pilot chowk and turned right. a narrow village road leads to abhaneri. as i reached the place the sun was showing it's first orangish glow. and it looked splendid as it created a halo around the spire of harshat mata temple.
undoubtedly the temple was much interesting than what it looked on the net. those 10kb pixelated pictures don't justice to the place. actually no picture can do justice to such beautiful places. well here am i witnessing the beauty of this village temple.
a short walk of just a couple of minutes takes you to a small fortress kind of thing, actually it's the outer wall of the chandra baoli, walk in through the stone gateway take a left or a right and there you are. who can imagine that out of the blue in this almost unknown village one could see such a baoli.
it's old, the water is mossy, the walls are greyish but it's so beautiful. the sun rays are yet to enter the depth of the baoli. it was not as big as i expected but surely more magnificent than my imagination.
i started walking down the steps and after a while it was like walking down a maze. not that you will get lost or anything still the structure gives the feeling of an illusion. archaeological survey of india has a decent collection of sculptures around the baoli inside the compound. but once there you would like to see nothing else but admire the architecture of the baoli. the steps are narrow one needs to be careful. once you are half way down the stairs it's like standing inside a deep pit, as if walking down towards the core of earth. i guess absence of sunlight was also making it look a bit mysterious. lucky enough there is a fence and beyond a point you can't go down the steps so no need to be scared of falling in the baolis mossy water in a cold winter morning. the place is neat and clean barring some pigeon shit around the walls.
it's nice to sit there for a while and keep admiring the baoli, when you are actually so few metres deep inside the earth and can see the ground level much above where you stand. yet again my camera can't do justice of showing the beauty of the place, but surely they should be able to inspire a person to make the trip. on one side of the baoli there are arches and below them in the niches are sculptures of mahishasur mardini and ganesh not clearly visible as they are at a distance on the other side of the water and inaccessible. my zoom lense worked as a binocular and gave me a closer look at the sculpture.
once done with admiring the baoli one should just walk around have a look at the carved pillars, arches, the little temple and the ASI conserved sculptures.
once you are over with all this take a short walk through the village,
have a cup of tea by the road side and move on...
...leaving behind a thousand years old baoli. a baoli which would have been the centre of technology, the centre of society, the centre art. a baoli which would have been the provider of water and centre of life.
Friday, December 26, 2008
things which are beautiful remain beautiful, even after some distortion and they make other things look interesting by their aura. yesterday i tried looking at some insignificant objects under the glory of jama masjid. and as i said jama masjid made everything else look interesting and beautiful. took a walk from the chandni chowk metro station to jawahar hotel. and on my way i kept collecting pictures of various objects with reflection of the mosque on them. even a small puddle in chawri bazaar jumped into life with the reflection of the spire of the masjid.
the junk of a spare part dealer started making artistic sense once i saw the reflection in a horn hanging there. the upturned mirror got lit by the magic of the mosque.
once in that area almost every where you can see the aura of that mosque, it's deeple embedded in every nook and corner of shahjahanabad. just that one needs to have the will and intention to see it.
surely for the past few centuries the mosque must have been enlightening people by reflecting in their day to day lives.