Why was this stepwell named Gandhak ki Baoli?
Gandhak ki Baoli was named so because of the smell of Gandhak (Sulfur). It is said that the water of the stepwell contained sulfur and that’s how it was named. Sulfur is supposed to have medicinal properties and can cure several skin diseases. Records say that the smell was so rich that one could feel it till Mehrauli bus terminus. Now since the Baoli remains dried, it no more smells sulfur.
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When I reached here on my one day tour of Mehrauli Archaeological Park, I visited Gandhak ki Baoli and I was pretty disappointed to see the condition of such an ancient monument. The Baoli which witnessed a lot since the 13th century now became a garbage dumping zone. The stepwell was covered with fences from all the sides to avoid entry and the gate too was locked. I had a word with a man who had his home adjacent to the Baoli. I was told that some people had died in the Baoli thus it was locked to prevent any human entry. Also, he told me that people used to take bath in it; they would do swimming, wash clothes, etc.
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This stepwell can be reached easily from Mehrauli bus terminus. If you are coming from the metro side, that would be a longer route. You may consider taking a bus to Mehrauli bus terminus and taking a short walk from here. The nearest metro station is Qutub Minar metro station on the yellow line. The Baoli is located outside Mehrauli Archaeological Park.
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Gandhak ki Boali today stands in utter silence, waiting for its fate but centuries ago, it was a major water resource for the area. Looking at the condition, I could sense that very little attention was paid to the monument and its dilapidated condition seemed pathetic. Delhi is home to such monuments; some of them are on the verge of collapsing.