Nawalakhi well [Vadodara]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Nawalakhi well at Baroda, Gujarat from the Curzon Collection, taken by an unknown photographer during the 1890s. The well is located about 45 metres north of the Makarpura Palace at Makarpura. A stepwell or baoli, it consists of a vertical shaft descending to the water table, reached via tiers of stepped subterranean platforms. As well as being a source of water, stepwells were used as cool retreats in hot weather and also functioned as shrines, many being closely connected with a temple. They are a unique form of underground well architecture found all over Gujarat and Rajasthan. The most elaborate and monumental forms are found in Gujarat, however, where they are called vavs or vavdis, and the Nawalakhi (nine laks) well is one of the most notable. This view shows a receding perspective of galleried apartments constructed from carved masonry pillars and beams, a form unique to Gujarat and used to strengthen the long vertical side walls.