Tuesday, August 26, 2014

India’s Haunted Stepwells, Part ll

A stepwell is an ancient subterranean structure that was built to allow India’s citizens access to water year-round.

At one time there were 1000s of these wells in India’s villages, cities and alongside roads. Most had elaborate architecture and artistic stone reliefs. 

Here are two that are considered to be haunted--both having histories of people drowning.

Madha Vav

This stepwell is located in the village of Vadhavan in the state of Gujarat, India.

It was constructed under the ruler, Karnadeva Vaghela. He was a weak ruler, and his people called him Karan Ghelo--meaning Ghelo the insane.

A statue of Ghelo and his wife can still be seen at Madha Vav.

This vav *, which is still intact, is 55 meters long (60 yards) and has 6 pavilion-towers. It has six flights of stairs, which is the usual number. These steps go down 49.80 m (54 yards).

Madha Vav
According to local belief, a dangerous spirit haunts Madha Vav. It is believed this spirit rises every three years and claims a life.

His victims always drown in the well’s water. This story is so prevalent that it is told in a popular folk-song.

Agrasen Ki Baoli

Agrasen Ki Baoli
Aragsen Ki is a 700-year-old beautiful stepwell that still exists in New Delhi, the capital of India.

It was built in the 10th century by Rajput King Anang Pal ll of the Tomar Dynasty.

This baoli is an excellent example of a single flight stepwell. It has 104 steps made of red stone.

At one time this well was submerged in murky water, so it was considered to be one of the most “spooky haunted places in India.”

Today, many report feeling the presence of an invisible ghost. This ghost is said to follow people around--if they quicken their pace in fear so does the spirit quicken its pace.

For years rumors have persisted that this well had several evil spirits. It is said that the well’s murky black waters mesmerized or attracted vulnerable people.

If a person was discouraged or depressed it is believed this baoli * hypnotized them-- a power would overtake them, and they would jump into the well’s waters where they died.

For hundreds of years, it was believed that “Baoli of the unseen” called people to offer their lives--a sacrifice in order to raise a well’s water levels.

Agrasen Ki is a protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

*  In Hindi-speaking regions these wells were referred to as "baoli." In the Gujarati and Marwari languages, they are usually called "vav" or "vaav."

Here is a link to Part l India’s Haunted Stepwells where I talk about their history and demise.

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