I recently stumbled upon a photo of what looked like a reverse temple and had to investigate. It was a stepwell. A stepwell is exactly what it sounds like: steps down to a well. The earliest stepwells date back to about 550 AD and were developed in India as a necessity for areas suffering from torrential seasonal monsoons. Many of these functional structures were commissioned by wealthy or powerful philanthropists (nearly a fourth of whom were said to be women) as spiritual, earthbound bastions built to last for an eternity. I mean, how stunning are these pieces of forgotten architecture? And could you imagine carrying a buckets of water up all those stairs?!

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Stepwells

Ancient Stepwells of India

Ancient Stepwells of India

Stepwells

Ancient Stepwells of India

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Ancient Stepwells of India

Ancient Stepwells of India

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Ancient Stepwells of India

Ancient Stepwells of India

Ancient Stepwells of India

(via  CNN, My Modern Met, & 121 Clicks)