Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Maharaja Agrsen ki Baoli or Ugrsen ki Baoli

Amidst the busy bylanes of Connaught Place, the Building of Tolstoy Marg visible in the far end, is the quiet Hailey Road. This is the Central part of Delhi, the busy commercial centre housing numerous establishments. It is surrounded by high rise building and multi storeys. There is just a wall on the outside, and most Delhites do not have a clue as to the significance of the baoli or even that it exists. Delhi is dotted with monuments all over and on the outside, it simply looks like another monument from the 14th century. Yes, we all just take it for granted! It is only on entering that one is dazed by the site. Endless steps which simply lead inside, reminds one of turrets except this goes down. The steps are broad, plenty of walking space on the sides and domes or tiers to count the levels inside. It is quite scary climbing down the steps as the sun dazzles and the steps seem to lead to a dead end down below. The Baoli has a breadth of 24 meters, length of 70 meters and a total of 109 steps. This is the official figure, though students and those running up and down put it at 153!!

As per the ASI records, at the level of the ground, the baoli measures 58.2 m X 13.71 m and at water level 39.6m x 7.5m. There are arched niches on both sides, home to pigeons now. The baoli has 5 tiers and one can see beautiful arches leading towards the centre where there is a platform and well.  At the end of the baoli (northern end) is a deep circular well with a 7.62 m diameter. There are traces of water here, probably because of the rains. There is also a roofed portion to sit upon. A mosque built of red stone at the top adds to the quiet charm.

There have been efforts on to revive the baoli but with borewells and tube wells being dug in the vicinity which are deeper than the baoli has resulted in the water being drawn to those wells. The slopes have been reversed so restoring it to its original glory is close to impossible.

Insider Tip – The Baoli is a gorgeous place to spend catching or basking in the afternoon sun in winters. It is frequented by students. It is quiet and peaceful far away from the hustle and bustle of the area. Climbing up and down the steps is also fun, I though didn’t relish the experience much. There is an occasional guard. Since it is isolated and lonely, it is better to go with a group and not be adventuorous and go alone.

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