I am much fascinated towards the ancient architecture and the kind of monuments people back then have built. Be it for living, amusement or even for combating any unseen danger or situation, these monuments are a fine example of how those people thought and created masterpieces out of bricks and stones. One of such architectural marvel that I visited in November last year was Raniji Ki Baori Bundi. The queen’s stepwell is among the most noteworthy step-wells due to its architecture, design and decoration.
Stepwells are an integral part of Indian history and architecture plans. Mainly constructed to deal with the water shortage situation, these stepwells were water reservoirs built by kings or other rich men for charity purposes and you will find several of them all across the country. Delhi’s Agrasen ki Baoli is famous. I remember a couple of stepwells in my hometown (Mahendergarh) as well which I happened to visit back when I was in 10th class, more than a decade ago and the stepwells were used as dumping zone where people would dump the garbage. Raniji Ki Baori Bundi is well preserved with proper security and maintenance.
A Dive into the history of Raniji Ki Baori Bundi
I generally travel unplanned and grab the things that come on the way. I hadn’t done any research before visiting Raniji Ki Baori Bundi which was a challenge to figure out. However, I sat around the steps of the Baori, pulled out my phone and searched this monument to check facts and its history. I love visiting historical places and this travel activity gives me an insight into the past life and I find it amusing, interesting and incredible.
The history behind Raniji Ki Baori Bundi is fascinating. As the name suggests, Raniji ki Boari means Queen’s Stepwell. So, it is pretty evident that it was built by a queen. But why, when, how and there are a lot of questions that come in mind. Note that Bundi has around 50 stepwells making it a city of stepwells.
This Baori or baoli was built during the reign of Rao Raja Anirudh Singh who had a younger wife, Rani Nathavati. She was blessed with a boy who was named as Maharao Raja Budh Singh. However, Raja Anirudh had another wife and she wasn’t able to conceive and this made her envious. Since the first and the elder wife of Raja was jealous of Rani Nathavati, she had to give her son to the first wife of Raja Anirudh. Rani Nathavati was outraged over this but she transformed her anger into charity work and wellbeing of others. She decided to build a stepwell during the rule of her song Maharao Raja Budh Singh who was the ruler of Bundi from 1695AD to 1729AD. The stepwell was constructed in the year 1699. This Baori is the largest in Bundi and is architecturally most beautiful as well.
The architecture of Raniji Ki Baori Bundi
When I visited this stepwell, there was already a foreign group exploring the intricate carvings of this monument. A three-storey stepwell, the walls of Raniji Ki Baori Bundi was designed and decorated with deep carvings and statues. There are two beautiful gates with arches, glorified with heavy artwork on the pillars. Elephant statue carved out of white marble are placed on the columns top. For ancient architecture lovers, this place is a fine treat. I sat there on the stairs, getting amused by the artwork and carvings which are a center of attraction.
The stepwell is accessed through the 2nd floor. The entry from first is closed. The open area on the top of the Baori is covered with a net to stop the pigeons to enter the monuments. The walls on both sides of the stepwells have been carved with temple and Hindu god statues. This indicates that then local people might have worshipped here. Every storey has temple structures. Ogee brackets intricately adorn the archways of this monument.
Raniji Ki Baori Bundi is 46m in depth. This multi-storeyed monument has huge arched gates and four pillars mark a narrow doorway entrance. This architectural marvel from the medieval era reflects the strength of art and craftsmanship of a bygone era. The place was also used for public gathering, social assembly.
How to reach Raniji Ki Baori in Bundi?
Raniji Ki Baori is located in Bundi town which is almost 40km away from Kota. Jaipur is the nearest airport and is almost 210km away from Bundi. Once you reach Bundi, you can ask anyone for Raniji Ki Baori. You can either take a rickshaw or you can even take walk passing through the ancient alleyways and colourful markets of the city.
Bundi is a nice weekend destination from Delhi if you living around. If you are someone who loves to take a walk to through history and architecture, you may consider visiting Bundi on any weekend, whether you are travelling solo or you are travelling with your friends.