Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Many Times We Dream Of Going To India,

and one of the many sights we would like to see, 

 are these, stepwells, unlike most architecture where you look up,

 in all of these you look down,

 the clue as to what they are is in the title, stepwells, 

they were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water, stepping further down into them as water was used before it was seasonally in the rainy season refilled, over time stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines,

and now Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman who has dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented, has produced a book, “Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells, after centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognise their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them, in an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in her new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India, available at the end of this month, the book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations, and no I am not on commission, but we would both love to go to India and see some of these most remarkable places.

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