Agrasen ki Baoli- The hidden historical gem

Agrasen ki Baoli (Agrasen’s Baoli or Ugrasen ki Baoli) is a hidden historical and architectural gem hidden among the high rises of Connaught place in Delhi. The Baoli which is also seen as an ancient well to store water is situated in the heart of Delhi but is still known to the masses. The architectural marvel came to light only a few years back.

History of The structure;

The Agrasen ki Baoli is believed to be built during the ancient times of Mahabharata by Maharaja Agrasen who was supposed to be the ruler of the old town of Agroha, now present in modern day Haryana. The design of the baoli is seen to be of the early medieval Delhi Sultanate era probably pointing towards late Tughlaq (1321-1414 AD) or Lodi (1451-1526 AD) architectural style. It is said that the baoli was repaired on a vast and extensive scale during the Delhi Sultanate period by the Agrawal community with the help of Muslim masons and that is why the architecture of the baoli resembles the early medieval era.

Architectural style of Agrasen ki Baoli;

Since the Baoli is believed to be of the Tughlaq period the extensive use of stone walls with great designs and a series of arched structures which wore a grim look. The use of red stone is prominent in the 100+(103 to 108) stairs which lead to the bottom of the structure. The Baoli is 60 meters long and 15-meter wide rectangular step well made up of a series of superimposed arches supported on piers or columns. The baoli is divided into three sections, and earlier most of them were immersed in water. As of now, the well is dried up by the ASI and thus the whole structure can be explored.
The upper sections of the Agrasen ki Baoli have a narrow balcony on both the sides and has some doors and windows which are said to be used for puja or bathing purposes earlier, but now the doors are bolted. The closed and bolted doors and windows are now dwelling place for pigeons and bats.
On the top of the staircase or supposedly on the western side of the structure is a mosque. Four pillars which support the small structure are made up of red sandstone and a part of the structure is damaged. The columns are carved with Buddhist Chaitya inscriptions. The multi-religious evidence and uses of the baoli thus clarify the fact that the baoli was accessible to all the people of the community and was not related to any particular religious sect.

The architectural style of The Baoli
The architectural style of The Baoli

 

Myths regarding the Agrasen ki Baoli;

The age old myth of spirits and ghosts associated with the historical remains is strong and very much prevalent in the case of Agrasen ki Baoli. The rumours of being followed by dark spirits make the place mystic and scary. According to legends the baoli was earlier filled with filthy black water and attracted mostly the disheartened and depressed. The claims made stated that the water had a magnetic effect and a hypnotizing power which forced people to commit suicide and thus it was named as the “Baoli of the unseen,” used to call for people to offer their lives and raise its water levels. The events of supernatural incidents remain in the cloud of debate with some people rubbishing the claim as a myth, while some narrate their shocking experiences claiming to be the eye witnesses. The shrill sound of the bats and the architecture also adds on to the fear factor, and that is why it is said that nobody visits the baoli alone at night.

Agrasen ki Baoli
Pigeon on vigil at Baoli

Recognition;

The Agrasen ki Baoli got its due recognition from the Bollywood movie PK. The place was shown as the temporary shelter where alien Aamir Khan resided. The film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom also had a song featuring the stepwell. It is has also featured in many more movies and commercials.

Aamir & Anushka( PK movie) Agrasen ki Baoli
Aamir & Anushka( PK movie) Agrasen ki Baoli
Connectivity of the Agrasen ki Baoli;

The famous historic structure is located in the narrow Hailey Lane in the heart of New Delhi, near the iconic Connaught place market. The connectivity to the site is superb and convenient with the nearest bus stop of Barakhamba Road. The most convenient way to reach there is by the Delhi Metro. The nearest stations are; Barakhamba Road, Mandi House and also Rajiv Chowk. There is no entry fee, and it is most convenient to visit the structure during noon time in winters, as summers are harsh in Delhi.

The Hailey Lane
The Hailey Lane
Tourist enjoying at the Baoli
Tourist enjoying at the Baoli

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