December, 2020July 15, 2022
Rajon ki Baoli – A Lodhi era stepwell in Mehrauli
During my one day Mehrauli Archaeological Park tour, I came across several ancient monuments, tombs, ruins, etc. I was asked to visit Rajon ki Baoli when I had a word with someone known on Instagram about this archaeological park. I was also asked to visit Gandhak ki Baoli, located outside the park. Previously when I visited here in January 2020, I didn’t explore much. I only visited two monuments and that was it. I wasn’t prepared for exploring every corner but this time I decided to spend longer when I visited here in the first week of December 2020.
Rajon ki baoli is located in the middle of the park and faces another Lodhi era monument that holds no historical records. You will come across several monuments in this archaeological park that weren’t recorded in the historical texts so there is no information about them or if there is any information available, that isn’t easily accessible.
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History and Architecture of Rajon ki Baoli
As per the historical records, it is said that Rajon ki Baoli was built during Sikander Lodhi’s rule. It was commissioned by Daulat Khan in 1506. Now, I am not sure who Daulat Khan was. The stepwell has several chambers like structures which tells that not only it was meant for water purposes but also for resting as well so that the passengers could quench their thirst, sit and relax here for a while. Those were the days when the city had several such structures. Old Fort, Red Fort, Tughlaqabad Fort, etc. all of these forts have stepwells to cope with the water shortage problems. Agrasen Ki Baoli located near Barakhambha is one of the most famous stepwells of Delhi.
Though Delhi was established near the Yamuna River, still back then the city had to face a lot of water shortage issues. Thus, to fight with such problems, rich people had built stepwells. Building stepwells was also a part of the charity. Raniji ki Baoli of Bundi is a nice example of such projects which was built by Queen of Bundi as a part of her philanthropy interests. Rajon ki Baoli or also known as Rajon ki Bain today is mostly dried or may get filled with rainwater but back then it served as a water source for the area.
Rajon ki baoli located in Delhi’s Mehrauli is a three-storeyed monument. The stepwell is constructed with arches on both sides and you can even see plasterworks on its wall which can come off from many places. The baoli also has a small mosque and dome on the first floor. The mosque is supposed to belong to some Khwaja Mohammad. The dome right in front of the mosque has 12 pillars. The crown of the dome still has blue ceramic tiles on it. You can also spot floral motifs finials around it.
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This medieval stepwell known as Rajon ki Baoli doesn’t reflect its literal meaning. Raja in English means kings but this isn’t a kings’ baoli. Rather, the word is taken from the word rajmistri which means masons who either lived here or built this stepwell. Thus, it was named so. One might get confused with its name, and may think its kings’ baoli.
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Location, timing, and ticket information
Rajon ki baoli is located inside Mehrauli Archaeological Park. One has to walk into the forested area to reach here. There is another unknown Lodhi era tomb located in front of the baoli. The nearest metro station to Rajon ki baoli is Qutub Minar metro station on the yellow line and one can take a walk to the archaeological park from the metro station or hire a cab/auto-rickshaw. The monument has free entry thus you don’t have to pay anything. The gates of the park remain open from 9 AM to 6 PM.
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Though it is a protected monument still it lacks proper maintenance. People come here to smoke weed, throw garbage, and create nuisance which is a concerning situation. These people have turned the monument’s walls into a rough notebook and have scribbled nonsense on the walls. Such an act of stupidity is a threat to the ancient heritage of the city.
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I am a food & travel enthusiast, a music aficionado, poet, artist, and someone who loves to explore unexplored/off-beat places. I started this blog to share my food and travel journey.